Tobac­conist raided

The Cobram Courier - - NEWS - By David Rak

A le­gal seller of to­bacco prod­ucts in Co­bram was raided by the Aus­tralian Depart­ment of Health last week.

Co­bram Lotto and Free Choice Tobac­conist owner Dean Cly­des­dale was stunned last Wed­nes­day when depart­ment of­fi­cials came through his front door to check com­pli­ance with plain pack­ag­ing laws.

Mr Cly­des­dale said rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the depart­ment spent 40 min­utes trawl­ing through his mer­chan­dise and col­lect­ing de­tails about his busi­ness.

‘‘They said they came be­cause I have made com­plaints about il­le­gal to­bacco,’’ he said.

‘‘I don’t un­der­stand why they come bang­ing on my door when they know il­le­gal prod­ucts are be­ing sold in town.

‘‘There is no way I would risk sell­ing the type of il­le­gal prod­ucts they’re look­ing for.’’

A Health Depart­ment spokesman said he was un­able to com­ment on its in­ves­ti­ga­tions un­der the To­bacco Plain Pack­ag­ing Act 2011.

‘‘These in­ves­ti­ga­tions are con­ducted on the pack­ag­ing and ap­pear­ance of to­bacco prod­ucts un­der the act,’’ the spokesman said.

‘‘They are not con­ducted to check if the prod­ucts are il­licit on the ba­sis of ex­cise and cus­toms du­ties not be­ing paid.’’

The raid comes af­ter The Courier was able to buy il­le­gal to­bacco prod­ucts from Co­bram Gift and Cig­a­rette Ac­ces­sories ear­lier this month.

Ritchies IGA su­per­mar­ket con­firmed it did not re­ceive a visit from the depart­ment and it is un­clear if Co­bram Gift and Cig­a­rette Ac­ces­sories was in­spected.

The Courier at­tempted to con­tact Co­bram Gift and Cig­a­rette Ac­ces­sories for com­ment but it does not have a phone num­ber, the owner does not work in the shop and its Face­book page has been taken down.

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