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Tobacco seized in North West

An operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco across Greater Manchester and Merseyside uncovered nearly two million cigarettes and more than 80 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, all believed to be illicit.

Around 120 officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with support from local council trading standards, police, and British Gas, visited 82 retail premises and eight self-storage units on 28 and 29 June.

The visits, as part of HMRC’s Tobacco Taskforce activity, led to suspected illegal tobacco being seized and other potential offences being detected at 26 premises. This included:

  • 1,815,960 cigarettes, with an estimated £453,241 duty and VAT evaded
  • 83.3 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco, with an estimated £21,343 duty and VAT evaded

Sandra Smith, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:

“The sale of illegal tobacco will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.4 billion a year. By combining intelligence and resources with other agencies we are able to disrupt suspected criminal activity including but not exclusively tax evasion. These offences undermine legitimate traders and we want to level the playing field for all businesses.

“We encourage anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol to contact us on 0800 788 887.”

In addition to the HMRC tobacco seizures:

  • Eight properties were targeted on suspicion of energy theft by British Gas’ revenue protection team, with more than £40,000 of energy thought to have been stolen from four of the properties alone
  • a cannabis farm including 29 plants was dismantled in Liverpool
  • one van, being used to transport tobacco that was believed to be illicit, was seized
  • each premises where a suspected offence was detected will now have the business accounts audited and the owner and employees may be subject to personal financial scrutiny by HMRC.

Andy Norman, Head of Customer Services Field Collections, British Gas, said: “Electricity and gas theft in homes and businesses is a serious issue, which places lives at risk and adds unnecessary costs to customers’ bills. This latest joint operation proves, together, we can tackle energy theft more effectively.

He added: “I’d urge anyone who suspects cases of energy theft in homes and businesses in their local community to call our British Gas tip-off line on 0800 587 2737.”

Lost Medication- Litherland

Merseyside Police is appealing for the public to be cautious after prescription medication was reported to have been lost yesterday (Monday, 12 June 2017).

Officers received a report at about 5.50pm yesterday that 26 x 50mg Tramadol tablets in a white chemist bag had been lost somewhere between Hatton Hill Road and Hawthorne Road in Litherland between 12.30pm and 5.50pm yesterday.

Officers are reminding people that taking any medication which has not been prescribed for them can be dangerous and, in some circumstances, can prove fatal.

Anyone who finds any of the medication is asked to hand it in to any pharmacy or police station or call officers on the 101 number.

Health commissioners invite public for a ‘Big Chat’

Sefton residents are invited to book a place at their local Big Chat 8 event to discuss health services and give their views on their local NHS.

NHS South Sefton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS Southport and Formby CCG are encouraging residents to come along to hear an update on their latest work. They will also be invited to take part in some workshop style discussions to gather people’s views.

Dr Rob Caudwell, chair of NHS Southport and Formby CCG, said: “Our Big Chat events give you the chance to come and talk to us about your health services and to hear about our plans for the year ahead.”

Dr Andrew Mimnagh, chair of NHS South Sefton CCG, said: “The public’s view is vital in what we do to move plans forward so we value your opinions and hope you can make it.”

The NHS Southport and Formby CCG Big Chat will take place on Tuesday 20 June from 5.30pm-7.30pm at Holy Trinity Church, Rosemary Lane, Formby, L37 3HA. Information on previous ‘chat events’ can be found here: www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/our-chat-events

The NHS South Sefton CCG Big Chat will take place on Tuesday 11 July from 5.30pm-7.30pm at Bootle Cricket Club, Wadham Road, L20 2DD. Information on previous ‘chat events’ can be found here: www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk/get-involved/our-chat-events

Anyone who is interested in attending is asked to call 0151 247 7000 or email: southportandformby.ccg@nhs.net or southsefton.ccg@nhs.net to book their place.  

Update on measures to protect poultry against avian flu

Prevention zone and poultry gatherings ban to be lifted in England on 15 May, with localised measures in Lancashire, Cumbria and Merseyside.

Change of dates for CCG health meetings

Health commissioners in Sefton have released revised meeting schedules for their bi-monthly governing bodies, which borough residents are welcome to attend to hear more about their local NHS.

It means that governing body meetings for NHS Southport and Formby Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and NHS South Sefton CCG will now take place in early May, a month earlier than previously advertised.

Chief officer for both CCGs, Fiona Taylor, explained: “Governing bodies are the CCGs most important business meetings where members of the group discuss and make decisions about local health services.

“We’ve moved our meetings to earlier in the month so information presented to the governing bodies is more timely, and we have changed the month when they are held so they fall outside the main summer holiday period to give as many people as possible the chance to come along and listen in to our discussions.”   

CCGs are responsible for planning and buying, or ‘commissioning’ the majority of local health services and governing bodies are accountable for their work. The NHS organisations welcome anyone with an interest in their work to come along and listen to the discussions of the doctors, nurses, health professionals and lay representatives who make up the governing bodies. 

All governing body meetings start at 1pm and time is set aside before they formally begin for people to ask any questions they might have.

The next governing body meetings take place on the following new dates:

  • NHS Southport and Formby CCG – Wednesday 3 May, Family Life Centre, Ash St, Southport
  • NHS South Sefton CCG – Thursday 4 May, 3rd floor, Merton House, Stanley Rd, Bootle

Anyone who would like to come along is asked to call 0151 247 7000 to confirm their attendance.

A full schedule of each CCG’s new governing body meeting dates can be found on their websites www.southportandformbyccg.nhs.uk and www.southseftonccg.nhs.uk

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