News item

Dog sniffs out £2,000 haul of illicit cigarettes in Crawley

A sniffer dog helped uncover illegal tobacco worth £2,000 during a raid in Crawley yesterday. 

Pheobe was used by trading standards officers from West Sussex County Council and discovered 260 packets of illicit cigarettes and 103 pouches of loose tobacco at a Crawley business on Monday, September 8. The haul is estimated to have a street value of around £2,000. 

The officers carried out the raid on the business following a tip off from a member of the public.  An investigation has now been launched.

Lionel Barnard, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services with responsibility for Trading Standards, praised the work of the team and said: “It’s great to see action against the supply of illegal tobacco, hitting local supply chains and warning dealers that sales will not be tolerated. 

“The illegal trade undermines efforts to reduce smoking and is unfortunately accessible through many sources within some communities, making it easier for children to start smoking and enabling them to become hooked at a young age. 

“Cheap cigarettes also make it easier for non-smokers to start and ex-smokers to relapse.” 

The raid was also part of West Sussex County Council’s support of the Stoptober campaign – which encourages smokers in West Sussex to quit by giving them free one-to-one help and support. 
Most of the cigarettes seized yesterday were fake Amber Leaf and Golden Virginia rolling tobacco along with brands such as Benson & Hedges that had probably been smuggled into the UK to avoid taxes. 

Anyone with information about illegal tobacco sales can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or report via the West Sussex website at

For advice about quitting smoking call 0300 100 1823 or visit

The business raided yesterday is now the subject of an ongoing investigation so will not be named at this point.


For further information please contact Harriet Shelley on 033022 24520 or email

Pheobe with her haul
DATE: 09 September 2014