Gardai warning over asbestos risk in seized illegal cigarettes
Illegal cigarettes seized at an open-air market could contain hazardous materials including asbestos, gardai have warned.
The cigarettes were being sold at the Saturday morning market at Bolton Square in Drogheda, Co Louth.
In a haul of 20,000 illegal cigarettes were a large quantity of packets marked 'Jin Ling'. Garda Inspector Alan McGovern said they were concerned about the contents of the illegal cigarettes that were seized.
"I can confirm we have seized a large quantity of counterfeit CDs, DVDs and cigarettes at the Drogheda market and we are particularly concerned about the cigarettes marked Jin Ling," Inspector McGovern said.
"We are very concerned about members of the public purchasing these items believing they are getting a bargain and we suspect they (Jin Ling) contain hazardous materials."
Inspector McGovern said that in Britain packets marked Jin Ling were analysed and found to contain asbestos.
"While we are in the process of getting these cigarettes analysed it is suspected they could contain hazardous material.
"It has been previously reported in the UK that these illegal cigarettes contained asbestos," Inspector McGovern said.
The same operation also recovered 5,000 CDs and DVDs, including bootleg copies of Ed Sheeran's Multiply album.
In relation to the cigarettes, which also included Richman and L&M, they represent a potential loss to the exchequer of €8,000.
The gardai thanked the public for tipping them off about their concerns, which was one of the factors that led to the raid on the market.
"This operation was partly due to concerns by members of the public and we thank them for that.
"We would appeal to the public to contact us at any time if they are aware of the selling of cigarettes or of any counterfeit DVDs or CDs at any open-air market," the Inspector added.
The seizure was welcomed by Retailers Against Smuggling, whose spokesman Benny Gilsenan said he was not surprised at the prospect of asbestos in the cigarettes.
"The levels of carcinogens in the illegal cigarettes is 20pc to 25pc higher than in those produced in legitimate premises," he said.