A substantial amount of illicit cigarettes, tobacco and shisha has been uncovered in Darlington by Bradley – a trained sniffer dog.
On Monday, February 27th, 2017, Bradley, a Springer Spaniel, discovered the illegal goods stashed in the concealed under-floor storage of the shop, as part of an investigation by Darlington Trading Standards, the police and HMRC.
The six year old spaniel found 16,850 illegal cigarettes and 4.45 KG of hand-rolling tobacco. Elsewhere on the premises was 5.2 KG of illegal shisha. The shop owner was arrested and investigations are on-going.
On making the find in Darlington, Bradley was rewarded with his favourite ball.
Councillor Chris McEwan, Darlington Borough Council’s Cabinet Member for Economy and Regeneration, said: “This haul sends a clear message that there really is no hiding place for this kind of illegal activity, especially in Darlington.
“Many thanks to our partners, the Police and HMRC, who have helped to make this operation a success and a special mention to Bradley who has used his keen sense of smell to sniff out and help stamp out crime in our town.”
Shaun Trevor, a Fair Trading Officer with Darlington Trading Standards, said: “We are glad to have had such a successful outcome and the find just goes to show the value of enforcement agencies working together to combat crime.
“People who deal in illegal tobacco are more likely to encourage children and young adults to smoke.”
He continued: “All tobacco is harmful but the illegal tobacco market and the availability of cheap cigarettes, makes it harder for smokers to quit and remain smoke free.
“The illicit trade in tobacco not only affects smokers who may be trying to quit but also trade for legitimate businesses who are complying with the law.
“We are working hard to keep these illegal products off our streets and will continue to crack down on those businesses and individuals that deal in them.
“Detection dogs can find tobacco and cigarettes in the most unlikely of places so there really is no place to hide this stuff. Offenders can have their stock seized and face unlimited fines and up to 10 years in prison.”
Source: Darlington Borough Council