A former senior Metropolitan Police detective has revealed the dangers of the illicit tobacco trade in Peterhead and the North East.
A report by former DCI Will O’Reilly shows that the North East - including Aberdeen, Peterhead and Fraserburgh - is the third highest of ten regions across Scotland for locations at which illicit tobacco is sold.
Mr O’Reilly was also able to buy the most single packs of cigarettes in the area.
He said: “In Peterhead we bought cigarettes on three occasions, two from shops in the high street area and one from a public house which we were directed to by locals who knew the person in there was selling cigarettes.
“Obviously no tax is paid on these but more so organised crime is involved.
“Criminal gangs are turning away from supplying drugs and firearms to supplying illicit cigarettes because it’s more profitable.”
Each containment can make gangs a profit of £1 million.
Mr O’Reilly - who has been conducting the research on behalf of tobacco firm Philip Morris - also highlighted the additional health risks posed by this tobacco which has been found to contain human faeces, rat droppings, flies and other bonding agents.
The former detective, who investigated organised crime in London for 32 years, added: “It’s about intelligence - we found out a lot of the communities know where illicit tobacco is sold but turn a blind eye.
“I encourage these people to contact trading standards.”