Partnership results in retail inspection by trading standards and tobacco sniffer dogs
As the result of a partnership between the Trading Standards Institute (TSI), HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, tobacco detection dogs have discovered 24100 cigarettes and 25.3 kilos of hand rolling tobacco with a total value of over £7500.
The illicit products were seized during inspection raids in Bradford City Centre and Armley, Leeds on 18th June, conducted by West Yorkshire Trading Standards and attended by HMRC officials during Operation Henry. Operation Henry, which runs from April through September 2014, cracks down on the supply of illicit tobacco across nine regions in England. Each region receives eight days of dog detection provided by Wagtail UK and funded by the Department of Health. The Operation is managed byTSI. This partnership allows trading standards officers to identify illicit tobacco 'hot spots' by combining intelligence from HMRC and trading standards.
Indie, A Labrador Retriever, and Bradley, a Springer Spaniel provided by Wagtail UK helped detect the concealed stashes of tobacco at four out of five premises that were visited.
Leon Livermore, chief executive of TSI, said: "This partnership is one more example of how trading standards works with the private and public sector to protect consumers and support legal business practices”.
Cllr Bill Urry, of the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Committee commented: “Trading standards now has a unique opportunity to share information and develop intelligence with the aim of taking illicit tobacco off the streets by targeting the areas with the highest levels of such activity”.
The seizure included foreign labelled, counterfeit and non-duty paid products which cannot be legally sold in the UK. The raids were conducted as a result of information provided the public.
Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service, David Lodge, said “Those involved in dealing in illegal tobacco may be encouraging people, including children to smoke by providing a cheap source. The detection dogs can find tobacco and cigarettes even if hidden in the most unlikely places. Offenders need to know that they will face consequences if they choose to deal in these illegal products.”
Notes for Editors:
Trading Standards Institute (TSI) (www.tradingstandards.gov.uk)
TSI is a training and membership organisation that has represented the interests of the Trading Standards profession since 1881 nationally and internationally. We aim to raise the profile of the profession while working towards fairer, better informed and safer consumer and business communities
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