MORE than 15,000 suspected counterfeit cigarettes were seized from a Didcot home over Easter, the county council has said. 

The authority's Trading Standards team and Thames Valley Police has warned they are closing in on people who sell illegal tobacco over social media sites after the raid. 

An address was searched and the cigarettes were found. A man has been arrested in connection with the incident. 

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Jody Kerman, Trading Standards Operation Manager at Oxfordshire County Council said: “There is no such thing as a safe cigarette and the best decision anyone can make for their health is to stop smoking.

"Peddling counterfeit tobacco is a serious crime that not only robs the public purse of much needed revenue, but also poses a threat to health and is a real fire risk.

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"Those involved in this type of illegality shouldn’t believe that because they are not selling from a shop, we won’t catch them. We absolutely will.”

Tobacco fraud is reported to cost the UK around £2.5 billion a year while treating smoking-related illnesses costs the NHS over £2 billion annually.

Those selling fake cigarettes face unlimited fines and can be jailed for up to 10 years.

Anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco should contact 0300 999 6 999 or report it anonymously via the website