Illegal tobacco and cigarettes seized from three shops in Wisbech

One of Wagtail's sniffer dogs in action

One of Wagtail's sniffer dogs in action - Credit: Archant

Sniffer dogs were used to track down illegal tobacco and cigarettes which were seized during raids at three Wisbech shops.

Illicit tobacco and cigarettes were seized in Wisbech.

Illicit tobacco and cigarettes were seized in Wisbech. - Credit: Archant

The raids took place on Friday (May 15).

Cambridgeshire Trading Standards officers used tobacco detection dogs from Wagtail and support from Cambridgeshire Police and HM Revenue and Customs to carry out the operation at the three premises in Wisbech.

One shop had more than 16,000 cigarettes hidden which the specially trained dogs detected.

Cambridgeshire County Council’s acting head of supporting businesses and communities, Aileen Andrews, said: “We won’t tolerate illicit tobacco and cigarettes in our county.

One of Wagtail's sniffer dogs in action

One of Wagtail's sniffer dogs in action - Credit: Archant

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“Tobacco fraud costs the UK £2billion a year in lost taxes which should be spent on public services.

“We want to see health improvement in this county and with poor and disadvantageous communities and young people often the target of this cheap tobacco, it does not encourage people to quit.

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“Offenders need to know that they will face consequences if they choose to deal in these illegal products.”

Wagtail International, the company used to help sniff out the illicit goods, are the UK’s leading specialists in detection dogs and dog handler training.

The firm, based in Flint in North Wales, provide expertly trained dogs and dog teams for the detection of explosives and firearms, drugs, cash, tobacco, illegal immigrants, cadaver and hydrocarbons as well as rescue dogs for mountain and urban disaster and personal protection.

A spokesman for Wagatil said: “Dogs are the most reliable and consistent factor in the detection of illegal substances and firearms, and are effective in searches of people, transport and property. With the rise in the drugs trade and an escalation in terrorism, we provide specialist detection dogs globally.”

Typical clients include the Police, Immigration and Customs (the UK Border Agency), the Ministry of Defence, high profile blue-chip companies and UK sporting venues.

“We provide services internationally across the Middle East, Africa, the Far East, Mainland Europe and North America.”

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