In his endeavour to clamp down on the illicit tobacco trade, the Chief Minister in close consultation with the Collector of Customs has added the area of Eaton Park, as well as the area behind Northview Terraces and the new Forbes building, to the list of Special Zones as per the Tobacco Act 1997.
This enhances Customs and Police Officers’ powers of ‘Stop and Search’ and allows them to direct individuals suspected of being involved in illicit tobacco activity to leave the area; failure to do so will constitute the commission of a criminal offence. Additionally, the definition of a ‘commercial quantity’ of cigarettes is restricted to 600 cigarettes as opposed to 2000 cigarettes in all other areas of Gibraltar.
The Collector of Customs has expressed the importance of this new inclusion in the legislation. The Collector of Customs, John Payas, said: ‘HM Customs are using all avenues - legal and operational - to disrupt illicit tobacco activity and the antisocial behaviour that accompanies it.’
The Chief Minister, the Hon Fabian Picardo, said: ‘Since we were elected in 2011 we have been increasing the powers available to Customs and Police Officers to curb illicit activity. We have reduced the activity greatly and this new measure, at the request of the Collector, adds to the arsenal of measures available to our law enforcement agencies in the battle against that illicit trade. We will do more to stop this activity whenever we are requested by our law enforcement agencies to do so.’