Over £55,000 worth of illegal goods seized in Oxford Street American candy store raid

Westminster City Council has said that more than £55,000 worth of suspected illegal goods had been seized in a recent raid on an American candy store on Oxford Street.

As per Retail Gazette, an operation carried out on Wednesday morning by Trading Standards saw officers recover 2,200 items ranging from fake designer mobile phone covers and disposable vapes containing illegal levels of nicotine to sweets banned in the UK.

Upon taking over Westminster City Council for the first time ever following the May 2022 local elections, Labour made tackling the rise of American candy stores across the West End one of its priorities. Many of the stores, which had taken over a significant part of historic London like Oxford Street and around Leicester Square, have long been suspected fronts for criminal activities including money laundering and sales of illegal goods.

Council officials have stepped up pressure in recent times, and have accused their owners and landlords of using them to avoid paying tax.

Adam Hug, leader of Westminster City Council, said: “This significant haul from just one shop shows the scale of the problem we face. Suspected illegal goods continue to flood into the country and central London. As a council we do what we can making life difficult for unscrupulous traders through enforcement action and pressure on landlords

“On the wider stage we are also campaigning for changes to company registration to make it harder for dirty money to circulate in London. We are dealing with people who are quite prepared to peddle excessively strong vapes and banned sweets to children.

Westminster City Council’s efforts have seemingly been rewarded. The number of American candy and souvenir shops has dropped from a peak of 29 to 21, the council said in October.

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