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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

 

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