More than 650,000 smuggled and fake cigarettes have been found after officers raided an Oxfordshire home.

The haul is estimated to have a street value of between £150,000 and £200,000.

Trading standards officers working in a joint operation with Thames Valley Police, on November 29, raided the house in Banbury.

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It resulted in the record haul of 680,380 smuggled and some suspected counterfeit cigarettes being seized.

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Two mobile phones and a CCTV recorder were also seized and will be forensically examined.

A 37-year-old man was interviewed under caution at Banbury Police Station and, with the investigation ongoing, further suspects are expected to be interviewed.

Councillor Neil Fawcett, Oxfordshire County Council’s cabinet member for community services and safety, said: “Criminals dealing in illegal tobacco provide a cheap source of supply that can easily end up in the hands of young people whose developing lungs are particularly sensitive to the harm tobacco causes.

"It also encourages adults to carry on smoking, when giving up would dramatically improve their health and wealth.”

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The illicit cigarettes are being stored at a secure undisclosed location.

The sting took place under Operation CeCe, a national trading standards initiative in partnership with HRMC, which is playing a significant role in disrupting the illicit trade and helping to take illegal tobacco products off the streets.

Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s head of trading standards, said: “This is a quite remarkable seizure and one of the biggest ever achieved by trading standards anywhere in the UK. It’s staggering that such a huge quantity of illegal cigarettes was being stored within an otherwise normal residential property in our community.

"There is no such thing as a safe cigarette, but it is particularly concerning that suspected counterfeit products have been detected, both in terms of public health and fire safety.”

Trading standards officers made their previous biggest seizure of illicit cigarettes on October 8, 2021, also from a house in Banbury.

The amount seized was 44,440 cigarettes and 24,500 grams of hand-rolling tobacco worth more than £20,000.

A man aged 40, and a woman, aged 39, were both interviewed under caution at Banbury police station.

Ms Kerman warned residents of 'stash houses' at the time, where people visit a house and usually leave with a plastic bag containing the 'tell-tale' rectangular shape box of 200 cigarettes.

Information from residents is vital in helping to stamp out the supply of illegal tobacco.

Reports can be made anonymously by calling 0300 999 6 999 or by visiting

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