Sniffer dogs uncover illegal tobacco

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The tobacco the sniffer dogs have uncovered, worth over £4,000

The tobacco the sniffer dogs have uncovered, worth over £4,000

Sniffer dogs have helped to uncover more than £4,000 worth of contraband cigarettes in raids with Sefton Council Trading Standards Team.

Illegal tobacco was seized after seven retail premises were visited in Bootle, Litherland and Southport by the team. The two black labradors, Murphy and Ozzie, are provided by Wagtail UK Ltd and helped detect concealed stashes of tobacco at the four premises they raided.

Andrew Naisbitt is the Sefton Council Trading Standards Manager. He said: “Traders often conceal illegal tobacco in unusual places and following this round of raids items were discovered in children’s lunchboxes.

“This just shows the lengths people will go to in order to store contraband items but by working with the highly trained tobacco dogs, this means there are no longer any hiding places for them.”

The raids are only the second time sniffer dogs have been used, however they are already proving invaluable to the team.

Councillor Trish Hardy, Cabinet Member for Communities and Environment, said: “This is the second time we have used the sniffer dogs and yet again it proved to be a huge success.

“We will also take action against anybody who chooses to trade in illegal tobacco to protect legitimate traders and help our public health partners in reducing the numbers of people who smoke.”

No arrests have been made, but investigations are ongoing into where the illegal tobacco came from.

Anyone with information regarding the sale of illegal tobacco should call the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 08454 04 05 06 or the confidential Crimestoppers hotline on 0800 555 111

About Josh Parry, JMU Journalism