Thousands of pounds' worth of counterfeit cigarettes and vapes have been confiscated by police as part of a crackdown on serious and organised crime.

Officers from Sussex Police visited seven premises in Crawley in search of illegal tobacco, vapes and counterfeit goods and discovered items suspected of being fraudulently and illegally imported.

The items were seized and disposed of.

Police also seized £10,000 which was hidden away.

The operation, which took place on January 26, was conducted in collaboration with Trading Standards, HM Revenue and Customs, the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit and Crawley Borough Council as part of a neighbourhood policing “week of action”.

In a separate operation in Crawley, plain-clothed and uniformed officers conducted 11 stop and searches where Class A and Class B drugs were seized.

Officers also opened an engagement pod in Crawley High Street on January 31, with residents discussing their worries or questions with officers, PCSOs and county council staff.

Superintendent Nick Dias said: “The multi-functional use of the pod is perfect for what we wanted.

“Residents should be able to go to the pod and see a face if they have any questions. These days show that it won’t just be Sussex Police who will be there for answers, but also representatives from our partners.

“The day of action with Trading Standards was a fantastic result and it shows our commitment to keeping shoppers safe with legal products.”

Councillor Yasmin Khan, cabinet member for public protection for Crawley Borough Council, said: “This joint operation has taken dangerous and fraudulent goods off the streets and is another great result for the Safer Stronger Crawley initiative. My thanks go to all of the officers involved from all of the partners who worked on this operation.”

Councillor Duncan Crow, West Sussex County Council cabinet member for community support, fire and rescue, said: “As a resident of Crawley and elected member for the area, I am pleased to support the Safer Stronger Crawley initiative that has been running since November 2023 and the actions being taken in the town centre to make it a safer place for people to go about their daily lives.

“The co-ordinated work being done by the county council’s Trading Standards, community safety team and early help service, alongside Crawley Borough Council licencing, the probation service and Sussex Police shows what can be done when agencies collaborate and work together for Crawley residents.

“I look forward to seeing the positive impact Safer Stronger Crawley brings in the coming months.”