Illicit cigarettes uncovered by Highland Trading Standards with help from two four-legged friends
5th November 2018
Thousands of illicit cigarettes have been uncovered by Highland Council's Trading Standards Officers with a little help from two specially-trained, four-legged detectives.
Spaniels Dixie and Daisy from Consumer Protection Dogs were enlisted by the region's Trading Standards team to detect the smell of tobacco.
During the recent exercise, a number of business premises in Easter Ross and Inverness were visited by Trading Standards Officers along with the dogs and their handler, Bobby Cranie. Although no illicit tobacco was found in most of these premises a total of 1,680 illicit cigarettes were sniffed out by the dogs during the operation and seized by officers. In one search Dixie indicated that there was a large quantity of cigarettes in a corner of a staff room.
The cigarettes found by the dogs included Rothmans Red, Rothmans Blue and Winstons Classics. They were not in plain packaging and the health warnings were not in English, meaning UK tax had not been paid.
David MacKenzie, Highland Council’s Trading Standards Manager said: "This operation shows that Trading Standards will continue to take the necessary action to reduce the trade of illegal tobacco products in the Highlands. Trading in illicit tobacco has been linked to organised crime and other gang-related offences. The sale of illicit products increases health risks to the public as it undermines the measures put in place relating to health warnings and plain packaging and harms the legitimate interests of brands. We strongly urge the public to avoid buying illicit tobacco."
Dixie and Daisy were provided by Consumer Protection Dogs, an organisation which works with various enforcement agencies including trading standards, the police and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).
Funding for use of the specially-trained dogs is provided by the Society of Chief Officers of Trading Standards in Scotland (SCOTSS).
You can report the sale of illicit tobacco at: https://www.highland.gov.uk/counterfeits
On 22nd January 2019 the Moray West wind Farm planning application returns to the North Planning committee but merely fro some slight changes to the location of some turbines to lessen the impact on certain views. The original permission and this one is not within the power of the committee but they have the ability to enter and objection.
Police in Lochaber can confirm that a 27-year-old man has been arrested in connection with alleged consumer protection offences in Fort William. It follows an investigation by Police Scotland and Highland Council Trading Standards, after a report was received this week of "bogus workmen" in Fort William and alleged fraudulent activity relating to charges for work carried out on a house in the town.
DETAILED analysis of the Scottish Government's funding settlement, which makes up the vast proportion of the Council's budget, has been carried out and the net result is that the Highland Council will see a reduction in its grant funding to provide the current level of services. This, together with the additional pressures equates to a £31.2M budget gap for 2019-20.
Highland Council Trading Standards have produced guidance on how to spot the signs of scams that target businesses and also remind businesses to inform their employees on what to look out for when dealing with unsolicited telephone calls, emails and texts. All businesses as well as non-profit organisations (such as charitable organisations) may spend a lot of time dealing with potential scammers.
The Highland Council has written to parents and carers of school transport pupils to inform them that D&E Coaches have recently transferred a number of Highland Council contracts to Stagecoach and some school transport routes are included. These changes are to take effect from the first day back after the school holidays, Monday 7th January 2019 and timetables have been supplied for the routes affected.
Twenty nine members of The Highland Council's Care and Learning team have celebrated their success in completing the Council's 15 month ‘Lead On’ programme. ‘Lead On’, is a programme designed to develop practitioners’ understanding of change leadership and apply this through a change initiative in their place of work.
Highland Councillors are looking forward beyond the current Inverness and Highland City-Region Deal and asking: "What next and where?". Following publication of the Deal's annual report, Leader of The Highland Council Cllr Margaret Davidson said: "A meeting will be convened in the New Year with Councillors who have a particular interest in the City-Region Deal to talk about where we can go next and what we can do.".
Work underway to determine Highland's Budget allocation. Commenting after the news received last night of Councils' individual allocations, from the Scottish Government’s draft Budget, Budget Leader Councillor Alister Mackinnon said: "Having received the details of our allocation just last night, it will take some time to work through the proposed settlement and do a detailed analysis.
THROUGHOUT the month of November, The Highland Council's Chief Executive and members of the budget team have met with staff, groups and communities across the length and breadth of the Highlands. These sessions were part of a budget engagement exercise which also included facebook chats, survey, leaflet, video, and a budget challenge to raise awareness of budget challenges and gather views and priorities.
The Highland Council is to carry out a public consultation on the implementation of a transient visitor levy in the New Year. During the Council's public engagement activity during November, a strong theme was support for raising income from tourism, including a tourist levy, which could support local infrastructure, as well as the tourism sector itself.
[Printer Friendly Version]