Sniffer dogs find 13,000 illegal cigarettes and Greater Manchester borough

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Sniffer dogs Lily and Billy found 13,000 illegal cigarettes in Bury.

Eight shops in Bury selling illegal tobacco have been raided by police and trading standards officers helped by two springer dogs. Sniffer dogs Billy and Lilly have helped uncover thousands of illegal cigarettes in a series of raids across the borough.

Shop owners and buyers have been warned that further action is planned, following the latest enforcement operation by trading standards, licensing and the police. The specially trained springer dogs, provided by Wagtail UK, sniffed out 13,000 illegal cigarettes, six kilos of illegal hand-rolling tobacco and 700 vapes at eight shops across the borough.

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Some of the stashes had been carefully concealed in secret compartments uncovered by the dogs. The haul is worth a street value of £12,500.

The enforcement activity took place under Operation CeCe, a national multi-agency move to tackle illegal tobacco. The shops were chosen following tip-offs from members of the public.

Sniffer dog Lilly with some of the illegal tobacco she helped find in recent raids in BurySniffer dog Lilly with some of the illegal tobacco she helped find in recent raids in Bury
Sniffer dog Lilly with some of the illegal tobacco she helped find in recent raids in Bury | LDRS

Coun Charlotte Morris, cabinet member for culture and the economy, said: “This is great work by our teams at the council and the police. “Tobacco bought on the illegal market is likely to be the result of organised criminal activity with links to human trafficking, the drugs trade and loan sharks, bringing crime into our communities and exploiting vulnerable people. As well as its links to crime, we know illegal tobacco is how many children start smoking and cheaper prices undermine smokers’ attempts to quit.

“Further action is planned and we’ll be bringing these fantastic sniffer dogs with us to hunt out these products, no matter how well hidden. “The council will also be looking at the licences of the premises caught selling illegal tobacco.”

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Andrea Crossfield, Making Smoking History lead at the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, said: “Illegal tobacco might seem like a

bargain but it comes at a high price to our kids and our communities.

“Legal or illegal, all tobacco contains a toxic cocktail of chemicals which will kill one in two long-term smokers. “Illegal cigarettes are often responsible for getting children started on this lethal addiction, because of their availability at

pocket money prices and because dealers don’t care who they sell to.

“The crackdown on illegal tobacco is part of wider efforts to cut smoking rates and make smoking history for future generations.”

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