Scamp sniffs out huge haul of illegal cigarettes in Newcastle
A specially-trained sniffer dog has helped seize huge amounts of illegal cigarettes and tobacco from criminals in Newcastle.
Scamp, a six-year-old springer spaniel, joined forces with Newcastle City Council’s Trading Standards team and staff from HMRC for Operation Beagle 11 to sniff out illegal tobacco from targeted West End shops.
In total, the three-day operation saw 183,360 cigarettes and 46.2kg of hand-rolling tobacco seized.
From one premises, officers made their biggest ever seizure from a commercial property, discovering approximately 80,000 cigarettes hidden behind a chute into a neighbouring storage unit.
The use of a specially-trained sniffer dog was key as Scamp discovered a concealed compartment in the bathroom wall of one particular shop which had been visited multiple times without success.
Cllr Nick Kemp, Newcastle City Council cabinet member for environment, said: “The success of this operation has been remarkable and it has dealt a huge blow to the supply of illegal cigarettes in the city. This will hit criminals where it hurts them most.
“Sniffer dog Scamp was a huge asset and his powerful nose unearthed intricate hiding places which the human eye has previously missed. His role in these seizures has been incredible.
“I’m delighted for our officers who work tirelessly as their efforts have been well rewarded with this outcome.
“Illegal tobacco leads to children becoming addicted to smoking, promotes this deadly habit and often funds criminals. I want it to be clear that we will not stop coming after those who continue to break the rules.”
Illegal tobacco products are either counterfeit, fail to display the correct labelling for the UK market, or have been imported without duty being paid.
The intention of the operation was to establish whether or not tobacco products were being sold in full compliance with the various legislative provisions at the premises visited.
If you have information regarding the sale and distribution of illegal tobacco in Newcastle, please phone 0300 9990000 or visit keep-itout.co.uk