Scamp sniffs out illegal smoking haul hidden in ceiling

Scamp and the cigarette packets
Scamp and the cigarette packets
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SNIFFER dog Scamp showed he does not miss a trick when he sniffed out 400 packets of illegal cigarettes.

The haul of illegal tobacco was hidden away in the ceiling of a shop in Bognor.

But nothing gets past Scamp and he was able to lead Trading Standards officers to the haul, which has a street value of £2,000.

The seizure included products which are suspected of being counterfeit and other non-duty paid products which cannot legally be sold in the UK.

An investigation has now been launched.

The stash was hidden in a specially-built ceiling void which had a sophisticated electronic mechanism to lower the cigarettes from the ceiling.

It took officers more than an hour to get into the concealed space.

Councillor David Barling, who oversees trading standards for West Sussex County Council, said: ‘Cheap illicit tobacco is more readily available to those on low incomes, including young people, who are amongst the priority groups we are particularly keen to support to not start – or to give up – smoking.

‘We are sending a clear message to businesses that we will take robust action to remove illegal tobacco from the marketplace.’

The day of action by Trading Standards was part of the council’s support for national No Smoking Day, which took place yesterday.

In a recent prosecution by West Sussex Trading Standards involving the sale of illegal cigarettes, the owner of a shop in Bognor was convicted and sentenced to 12 weeks in prison, suspended for 18 months, and ordered to pay £3,572 in costs and an £80 victim surcharge.

Anyone who has information about illegal tobacco sales should call Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.