OUR INVESTIGATION today into the extent of the illegal tobacco trade in this area has uncovered shocking details of a business which is thriving.

It raises many concerns, not least that so much of this stuff is on our streets.

This highlights a significant amount of very well-organised crime going on in our midst. The amount of money involved is staggering.

Further it also represents a major health and safety risk.

Smokers are well aware of the risks of smoking tobacco, they are so well documented.

But those risks are greatly increased when the tobacco is illegal, because smokers really do not know what they are getting.

And given that some of those involved in this trade have no scruples about supplying cheap single cigarettes to children, then there is also huge potential to encourage more youngsters to start smoking.

Of course the presence of so much contraband tobacco on our streets also represents a massive loss of tax revenue for the government.

So this is bad news all round.

The good news for us here in Newport, is that having been identified as a hotspot, work is now going on to bring those involved to book.

Raids this week on just three premises uncovered a vast amount of illegal tobacco.

Those involved in its supply will now be brought to book and the tobacco taken out of circulation.