Time’s pup for illegal tobacco traders
The dogged determination of officers from Gloucestershire County Council and a pair of furry friends helped uncover over £7,000 of fake tobacco.
Working alongside the police and a specialist dog handling team from B.W.Y. Canine Ltd, officers carried out a series of raids in Gloucester and Cheltenham last Wednesday (11th October).
The nine shops were targeted by Gloucestershire County Council’s Trading Standards team acting on intelligence they’d gathered.
They were joined by scourge of illegal tobacco sellers, ‘Scamp’. The Springer Spaniel is a bit of a crime fighting celebrity across the country, helping councils around the UK in their crackdown on illegal tobacco.
This time he had the help of fellow crime fighting canine, ‘YoYo’. Together they helped to uncover a haul totalling 1,515 packets of cigarettes and 206 pouches of rolling tobacco.
The doggo detectives sniffed out tobacco hidden in two parked cars next to one shop in Gloucester, with one vehicle found to have £4,000 worth of illegal tobacco hidden in the boot. At the same shop an employee was caught trying to leave the building with a bag of illegal tobacco. He was detained and had £200 worth of tobacco seized.
Elsewhere, they sniffed out tobacco hidden behind a locked door, which the staff denied having access to. The door was forced open and inside officers found illegal tobacco worth over £2,800.
Other shops were found to have concealed spaces designed for storing tobacco, but these were empty. Officers believed that word had got out of their raids and it had been moved off site.
To avoid them being re-used in future, the concealments were put out of use.
Cllr Nigel Moor, cabinet member responsible for trading standards at Gloucestershire County Council said: “Illegal tobacco continues to be an issue in Gloucestershire and our officers are working hard to stamp out the sale of these fake goods.
“Thankfully we had the brilliant team from B.W.Y. with ‘Scamp’ and ‘YoYo’ helping us to get a great result during these raids.
“Our officers will continue to crack down on illegal tobacco sellers in the county, and we’d encourage anyone with information to get in touch.”