Approximately £50,000 worth of illegal tobacco was seized from an address in Melksham last week, as part a major county-wide operation.

A day of police raids took place last Wednesday as part of Operation Harness, a coordinated day of action focused on disrupting the county’s drugs trade.

Throughout the day over 70 addresses were raided, mostly in Swindon and London, with 46 people arrested.

Among those arrested in Swindon was a 29-year-old man from Melksham on suspicion of handling stolen goods. He has since been released on bail.

A police spokesman said: “It was from one of the people arrested in Swindon at one of the shops raided. It was a follow-up enquiry, so at their home address in Melksham, in the Sandridge Road area.

“It’s a combination of hand-rolled tobacco and cigarettes, which was seized in the afternoon by one of the Harness teams.”

Fiona Andrews, Director of public health body Smokefree South West, said: “Illegal tobacco is a major issue and about much more than missed taxes. It’s often sold at pocket money prices - making it cheap and all too easy for our children to smoke and become addicted to tobacco.

“Yesterday’s raids show the scale of these operations and how illegal tobacco is tightly linked to organised crime.”

Senior investigating officer for the covert operation, Detective Inspector Mike Rees said: “The operation was the culmination of over a year’s hard work from our undercover officers who are putting themselves at risk by associating with known criminals, often without any protection, to build up the intelligence we need for an operation like this.

“I would like to pay my personal respects to these officers – I have total admiration for what they do.”

Anyone wishing to report suspected drug use or dealing in their area should contact Wiltshire Police on 101 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 where information can be left anonymously.