Pooch patrol sniffs out illicit tobacco

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A dog with a nose for drugs has sniffed out thousands of counterfeit cigarettes and kilos of rolling tobacco in a joint operation between Glasgow Trading Standards and HMRC customs.

Dixie, a specially trained sniffer dog, helped officers to track down the illicit goods in a two-day crack down targeting shops, off-licences and markets across the city.

16,500 cigarettes and 3.5 kilos of loose tobacco were found, including 10,000 cigarettes found under floorboards at one premises.

It was Dixie’s first outing after training and, as well as tobacco and cigarettes, the pooch patrol also led officers to fake clothing, accessories and gadgets.

Neil Coltart, of Trading Standards in Glasgow, said: “The recent initiative was a great success – mainly due to Dixie the tobacco detection dog.

“The dog was able to detect tobacco hidden under flooring, behind a toilet cistern and in other locations which would not have been apparent during routine inspection.”

Anne-Marie Gordon, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, HMRC, said: “This is a trade that harms communities across Scotland and robs public services of £2bn a year. Since December last year, more than 180,000 non duty paid cigarettes and 22lbs of hand rolling tobacco has been seized through joint working with HMRC.

“Anyone who suspects cigarettes or tobacco is being illegally produced, smuggled or sold can help us by calling the Customs hotline on 0800 59 5000. If you see something, say something.”

Dixie is also expert at tracing hidden plastic DVDs.