Highlands & Islands

Spaniels help Highland Council uncover illicit cigarettes

Police officer with sniffer dog in Inverness Image copyright Highland Council
Image caption Handler Bobby Cranie and dog Dixie took part in the operation led by Trading Standards

Two sniffer dogs have been used to uncover hundreds of illicit cigarettes in the Highlands.

They found 1,680 illegal cigarettes during the operation by Highland Council's Trading Standards team.

Business premises in Easter Ross and Inverness were targeted and in one a large amount of the cigarettes were found in the corner of a staff room.

They were not in plain packets and the health warnings were not in English, meaning UK tax had not been paid.

The cigarettes, including Rothmans Red, Rothmans Blue and Winstons Classics, were seized by trading standards officers.

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."

The dogs - Daisy and Dixie - came from Consumer Protection Dogs (CPD), which works with a variety of enforcement agencies including the police and HM Revenue and Customs.

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