Raids net 11 peo­ple

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS - TOM HUNT

Hun­dreds of thou­sands of dol­lars worth of to­bacco was al­legedly stolen then on-sold from a Wellington fac­tory.

Nine men and two women were ar­rested fol­low­ing the ‘‘large scale’’ theft of to­bacco prod­ucts from Im­pe­rial To­bacco in Pe­tone, Lower Hutt dur­ing the past two months, po­lice said.

It was thought the to­bacco was stolen then on-sold at ‘‘cut-price’’ rates via so­cial me­dia.

Ten Im­pe­rial To­bacco em­ploy­ees, in­clud­ing two se­cu­rity guards and an em­ployee’s fam­ily mem­ber, were ar­rested on Tues­day and charged with to­bacco theft worth ‘‘sev­eral hun­dred-thou­sand dol­lars’’.

Dur­ing searches in Hutt Val­ley and Porirua, large quan­ti­ties of stolen to­bacco as well as $60,000 in cash and a ve­hi­cle were found, po­lice said.

‘‘This al­leged of­fend­ing was of a sig­nif­i­cant scale and we have worked closely with the man­age­ment at Im­pe­rial To­bacco over re­cent weeks to iden­tify, in­ves­ti­gate and close down the groups re­spon­si­ble,’’ De­tec­tive Se­nior Sergeant Tim Leitch said.

‘‘Our en­quiries have shown the un­law­ful and un­reg­u­lated sale of stolen to­bacco is a sig­nif­i­cant is­sue in the community.

Po­lice want to warn those who pur­chase stolen or cut price to­bacco that they may be com­mit­ting a crim­i­nal of­fence and are li­able for prose­cu­tion if iden­ti­fied.’’

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