Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Superdogs Leave Illegal Fag Barons Fuming as They Sniff out Ciggies Worth Thousands of Pounds

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Superdogs Leave Illegal Fag Barons Fuming as They Sniff out Ciggies Worth Thousands of Pounds

Article excerpt

Byline: Hannah Flint Reporter hannah.flint@trinitymirror.com

SNIFFER dogs smelled a rat and discovered illegal ciggies worth thousands in a series of swoops on Tyneside.

Almost 2,000 black market cigarettes were found in newsagents, food shops and off-licences.

The cigarettes, branded under names such as Jin Ling and NZ, were found thanks to specially trained dogs as part of Operation Beagle, a Newcastle council-led initiative to halt the sale of counterfeit cigarettes across the city.

And shop owners caught with the illegal products now face prosecution.

The raids came after the Trading Standards officers acted on tip-offs about the sale of the tobacco.

The cigarettes, hunted by sniffer dogs, spaniel Alfie and Labrador Indie, along with officers from Trading Standards, were found stashed in three different premises.

Inside a fourth, Alfie located a bag that still carried the scent of the illicit products - suggesting they had recently been stored there.

The haul, which was confiscated and bagged up, comes just months after thousands of illegal cigarettes to the value of PS15,000 were found in similar raids.

This time, in one convenience store alone, Global Supermarket in Elswick, Newcastle, 1,360 illegal cigarettes were found stuffed in the pockets of a jacket lying just behind the shop counter.

Alfie searched the shop's floor, basement and a property above the convenience store before finally locating the cigarettes just behind the counter.

The raid came six months after 3,100 illicit cigarettes were found under the counter in the same shop.

Trading Standards officer Paul Leighton said: "Typically stuff gets kept in the back of a shop, it almost seemed too obvious to have them hidden in a jacket at the back of the counter.

"Some businesses are perhaps savvy that we do this and are wary of stocking to much. …

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