Almost identical to the real thing: A pile of counterfeit cigarettes confiscated by French officials in 2010. Organised smuggling gangs operate in many countries
Fake cigarettes made from human excrement, asbestos, mould and dead flies are being smoked regularly in Britain, undercover detectives have found.
Investigators working for the tobacco industry have spent weeks rummaging through litter bins for fag packets to assess the scale of the black market.
They were astonished by the sheer volume of the illicit trade, with about one third of packets found to have contained fakes or cigarettes brought in by smugglers.
The survey in Birmingham by MS Intelligence, a Swiss-based brand protection company, found that 30.9 per cent of packets were either bogus or purchased abroad.
A similar study conducted last year found the proportion was only 14.1 per cent – indicating that the number of illicit cigarettes smoked in Britain’s second-largest city has more than doubled in 12 months.
Customers who smoke counterfeit cigarettes have been warned they are taking huge health risks. The UK Border Agency has intercepted items containing asbestos, mould and human excrement.
A haul in Derbyshire found cigarettes made from the remains of crushed flies.
Experts believe that MS Intelligence’s findings may be merely the tip of the iceberg. …