TAX officers raided a shop it what is believed to have been a search for illegal tobacco and Viagra-like substances.

A huge team from HM Revenues and Customs were seen in North Station Road, Colchester, yesterday morning.

They were said to have been searching Ocean Supermarket.

The officers were on the scene for several hours and eventually left at noon.

Mike Lilley, Colchester Council’s public safety portfolio holder, said the customs team was acting on information passed on by concerned residents.

He said: “I live close by and went and introduced myself.

“They were looking into the shop because of information regarding possible illegal tobacco and cigarettes.

“They seemed to take away some of the goods and we will have to wait and see what happens pending their investigation.

“It might be if something untoward is found then they come in front of the licensing committee.

“It is good to see this sort of thing happening.

“We work closely with these sorts of agencies and Trading Standards and with residents who are concerned when they see something untoward.”

One passerby said: “There were three or four vans there all parked up on the roads opposite the bank.

“It looked like it was some sort of raid - they all had orange lights flashing.”

Viagra is a substance taken for erectile dysfunction in men.

Last year, laws were changed meaning it could be bought over the counter in pharmacies without a prescription.

However, there are potentially dangerous side effects if taken by people who are not physically fit.

An HMRC spokesperson said: “We can confirm that HMRC officers were working in the North Station Road, Colchester, area.

“We are unable to release further information at this stage.”

The Gazette attempted to contact Ocean Supermarket but the line was engaged.