Dogged detective work finds illegal cigarettes

Thousands of illegal cigarettes were uncovered by a specially trained tobacco sniffer dog in searches of newsagent shops in Liverpool.

The City Council’s Alcohol and Tobacco Unit again used the services of the training sniffer dog from Wagtails UK.

The officers visited eight shops across the city on Sunday( 27 September). They recovered nearly 9,000 illicit cigarettes and two kilogrammes of hand rolling tobacco from four of them. There were foreign labelled cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco.

At two of the premises the illegal goods’ hiding places were operated by an electromagnetic switch. Staff from the four offending premises will be subject of criminal investigations and enquiries are ongoing.

Councillor Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “It is important that we target this type of illicit activity. The sale of illicit and cheap tobacco undermines key initiatives put in place by Public Health to improve the health of residents in areas of Liverpool where inequalities are of significant concern, particularly in relation to tobacco related illness.

“Premises who continue to supply these products will be targeted and prosecutions may follow.”