Counties Manukau Police are calling on the community to help stamp out the illicit sale of stolen cigarettes.
Darryl Evans of Māngere Budgeting Service says a 20 pack of cigarettes costs more than $20, so he isn't surprised people are buying stolen smokes.
10 smash and grabs at South Auckland service stations for cigarettes to sell is something police want to stamp out.
Police district Iwi liaison officer, Sonny Wilcox says, “It's important to police, that we don't have copy cats within the community doing this type of crime.”
Darryl Evans, CEO of Mangere Budgeting Services isn't surprised that this is happening. He says, “If you are a smoker on really minimum income, then you look for whatever bargain that you can.”
From October last year to January this year the spate of aggravated robberies happened. Police say it's concerning that cigarettes as a commodity is a growing trend leading to organised crime on social media.
“The thieves are stealing cigarettes and giving it to friends. Secondly, the stolen goods are being sold on the internet,” said Mr Wilcox.
Mr Evans says “We hear of people stealing from the supermarkets, with that it's cheese bacon or meat and on selling them. So again, it doesn't surprise me. I think it's terribly sad.”
Police are pleading to the community, if someone other than retailers want to sell you cigarettes, or you see or hear of this happening, ring them at Crime Stoppers - on the number, 0800 555 111.