ILLICIT tobacco and cigarettes were seized from two shops in Blackheath as part of Sandwell-wide raids that discovered more than £40,000 worth of contraband.

The pair of shops - which cannot be named due to ongoing court action - were visited by trading standards and police as part of Sandwell's Safer 6 campaign.

Altogether, six shops in Bearwood, Blackheath and West Bromwich were checked out - and counterfeit or non-duty paid items were found in five of the stores by officers, supported by sniffer dogs.

A total of 632 pouches of hand-rolling tobacco and 2,887 packets of cigarettes were seized with a street value of £43,170, with a loss of duty to the Government of £27,133.98.

Trading standards manager Bob Charnley said: "Some shops went to great lengths to hide the tobacco but the sniffer dogs found it."

Councillor Elaine Costigan, Sandwell Council's cabinet member for public health and protection, said: "I welcome these raids by trading standards and police, cracking down on unscrupulous traders who are undermining the hard work of law-abiding businesses by selling illicit goods.

"People may think they are getting a bargain when actually they could be putting their health at risk as they have no idea what is in these illicit goods."