Spy Style Concealment Efforts

Posted 2nd November 2023 by Dave Cross
 Spy Style Concealment Efforts lead image
In what Yorkshire cops have termed “Thunderhaul”, more than £100,000 of carefully concealed illegal tobacco and vapes have been smoked out in Dewsbury. The force has expressed its amazement at the length retailers have gone to in order to cover up their secret stashes which, officers say, is akin to “Spy film style secret locations”.

Officers from the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT and West Yorkshire Trading Standards are continuing to investigate after seizing a high value haul of goods in a joint operation in Dewsbury on Monday October 23.

Attending officers said they had been surprised by the lengths those involved had gone to in concealing their stash, with some hiding places being worthy of a James Bond style spy film.

They said in one case a false fuse on an electrical consumer board released the board to reveal a hidden cupboard filled with illegal tobacco.  

False Fuse Box


Another was hidden in a section of hinged false wall hidden behind a bathroom mirror which slid up within the frame it was in (see picture below).

The joint teams visited retailers in Dewsbury with a specialist drugs dog in the operation.

In addition to the tobacco, a number of illegal disposable vapes were seized. All of the vapes contained more than the legal maximum of 2ml of liquid, around 600 puffs, meaning they are not MHRA compliant and may contain illegal and dangerous additives.

The operation was the latest in a series of raids by police and trading standards and police in Kirklees to clamp down on illegal and counterfeit goods sales.

Hidden Mirror Compartment


In August police and trading standards officers seized 12,000 cigarettes, four kg of hand rolling tobacco and 4,500 vapes with a retail value of £45,000 in an operation in Huddersfield.

The officers says that it is understood that proceeds from the sale of illegal tobacco and vapes can be used to fund organised criminal enterprise. 

Sergeant Stuart Clarke of the Dewsbury and Mirfield NPT, said: “We know that money raised from illegal tobacco sales can be used to directly fund organised crime and through this operation, West Yorkshire Trading Standards and Police have dealt a substantial blow to the criminals benefitting from the supply of illegal and illicit tobacco in communities.

“Through working together we removed in excess of £100k worth of illegal and potentially dangerous Tobacco products were removed from stores carrying illegal goods.


“Investigations will continue to identify supply routes and Police Licensing Officers will consider breaches of the premises licence.”

Sergeant Clarke said that some of the methods used to store the illicit products had been quite ingenious.

Some of the premises had hidden the tobacco in specially designed hides, reminiscent of James Bond style gadgets,” he said. “In one case a false fuse on an electrical consumer board released the board to reveal a hidden cupboard filled with illegal tobacco.”

He added: “Anyone with information about the supply of illicit tobacco or vapes is encouraged to contact Trading Standards Confidential reporting system at www.keep-it-out.co.uk or via independent crime prevention charity Crime Stoppers on 0800555111

Images courtesy of West Yorkshire Police


Image by dannoritzer from Pixabay

 Dave Cross
Article by Dave Cross
Freelance writer, salad destroyer and live culture convert.