Sniffer dogs help officers seize thousands of cigarettes and illegal tobacco from shops across Norfolk during raids
PUBLISHED: 09:19 12 March 2017 | UPDATED: 17:31 12 March 2017
Thousands of cigarettes and more than a kilo of hand-rolling tobacco has been seized by Trading Standards and police officers after raids at shops in Norwich and Thetford.
The majority of the illegal goods were found concealed in a cavity behind a false section of wall at a store in Norwich.
In total 6,680 cigarettes and 1.2kg of tobacco was seized - while officers also removed a number of food items that were well passed their sell-by date.
Earlier on the same day (Friday) officers took 400 cigarettes from Thetford stores, and also seized food which was potentially unsafe due to a lack of allergen information.
The Thetford team were helped by Wagtail UK Ltd tobacco detection dogs, named Bertie and Beck (pictured).
Sophie Leney, Norfolk County Council’s head of trading standards, said: “Today’s inspections continue our systematic work to protect the most vulnerable residents in our communities by cracking down on criminals who prey on them.
“In our current service year, we have been involved in the seizure of 183,820 illegal cigarettes and 49.1kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco.
“We have carried out a significant number of inspections at a variety of businesses, many of which have led to formal enforcement action including prosecution and review of premises alcohol licences, banning sales of alcohol from stores where illegal tobacco has been found.”
Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of Norfolk County Council’s communities committee, said: “The inspections carried out today by Trading Standards prove that dealers are operating within Norfolk and don’t care that they’re making smoking accessible to our children by selling illegal tobacco at pocket money prices.
“The places that sell illegal tobacco put our youngest residents at risk not only because they are selling harmful goods at reduced prices, but because the sellers they are visiting may also have links with other criminal activity, including organised crime.
Residents can provide information by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline (anonymously if you wish) on 03454 040506 or by calling 101.