Sniffer dogs deployed in UK to find fake tobacco

Cigarette packTrading Standards in the UK have started using sniffer dogs to uncover counterfeit tobacco products.

In the latest incidents, a sniffer dog was deployed at a shop in Leeds after a Trading Standards officer made a test purchase of cut price tobacco which was found to be illegal and bypassing excise duties. The dog uncovered several hundred counterfeit packs of cigarettes and loose tobacco.

The owner of the store - Hishyar Suleiman Gully - was given a suspended sentence for fraudulent trading and 200 hours of unpaid community service, and was ordered to forfeit £1,000 and pay almost £4,400 in court costs. It is estimated that he evaded paying around £4,000 in duties.

Trading Standards have started using sniffer dogs supplied by Wagtail UK in nine regions across the country in recent months, helping officers find under-the-counter and concealed stashes of illicit tobacco products.

Last month, another Wagtail dog helped uncover 50 packs of contraband cigarettes, tobacco, and tobacco blunts at eight retail premises in Preston, Lancashire.

Counterfeit tobacco products often contain high levels of toxins, including arsenic and cadmium, and the illegal trade is thought to cost UK taxpayers £4bn a year in lost revenue. It has been estimated that more than half of all hand-rolled tobacco smoked in the UK is either fake or smuggled with no tax being paid.

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