Sniffer dog helps uncover illegal tobacco hauls at Slough stores

Hundreds of packets of illegal, smuggled or counterfeit tobacco have been uncovered by a sniffer dog during an investigation into six Slough stores.

Yoyo the spaniel was part of the operation commissioned by Slough Borough Council’s trading standards and licensing teams to expose shops selling illicit goods.

The dog, who works with BWY Canine, was employed with a handler to sniff around six stores of concern.

Two illegal hauls were uncovered including one shop which had 1,000 packets of illegal tobacco stored in a secret compartment in a toilet ceiling.

A further 400 hidden packets were discovered in a second shop.

The tobacco included illegal cigarettes, hand rolling and smokeless tobacco which had no duty paid, allowing it to be sold cheaply.

The sale of illegal tobacco is an offence under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Regulations 2015.

Councillor Balvinder Bains, cabinet member for regulation and public protection, said: “Selling cheap and potentially dangerous tobacco products is wrong.

“Not only can they cause more problems for those using the tobacco, but such shops are not competing in a level market in the borough, putting other law-abiding shops at a disadvantage.”

Slough Borough Council said cases are being prepared so enforcement action can be taken against the two unnamed shops exposed for having illicit goods.

The council’s principal trading standards officer Dean Cooke said any tip-off’s on non-compliant businesses will be gratefully appreciated by the local authority.

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