Warnings over the dangers of fake tobacco - which can contain cyanide and rat poison - are being spelled out in a new Sussex campaign.
Trading Standards officers and sniffer dogs will be in Crawley and Burgess Hill next month highlighting the dangers of illicit tobacco to the public.
They will be in Queens Square, Crawley, on February 1 and in Church Walk, Burgess Hill, on February 2. the Trading Standards team will provide an opportunity for residents to raise their concerns about illegal tobacco.
In the past month County Trading Standards officers have seized more than 150 illegal tobacco products.
Spokesman Richard Sargeant said: “If you are aware of anyone selling illegal tobacco or cigarettes or have suspicions or concerns you can come and speak to our team in Crawley or Burgess Hill.”
Experts say that counterfeit tobacco is even more hazardous than legal tobacco, as it can contain highly toxic materials including rat poison, cyanide or plastic.
Richard added: “Illegal tobacco does not only harm the individual using it, but has an adverse effect on local communities.
“We advise to always buy from a legitimate business and to contact us if you have any reservations.”
Illicit tobacco products often do not self-extinguish which can lead to house fires.
West Sussex Fire & Rescue officers and SmokeFree West Sussex will also be attending the events, along with sniffer dogs from specicalist detection dog supplying company BWY Canine.
Anyone with information about illegal goods can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or can report details online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/TSreport.