Derbyshire trading standards sniffer dog team’s crackdown on illegal tobacco

Pictured are dog handler Stuart Phillips, left, of BWY Canine, and trading standards officer Ade Barkin, of Derbyshire County Council, who hosted an illegal tobacco crackdown road show with sniffer dogs.
Pictured are dog handler Stuart Phillips, left, of BWY Canine, and trading standards officer Ade Barkin, of Derbyshire County Council, who hosted an illegal tobacco crackdown road show with sniffer dogs.

Sniffer dogs joined a trading standards team in Chesterfield town centre as part of a countywide crackdown on illegal tobacco.

The specially trained canines, called Phoebe, Yo-yo and Scamp, took part in demonstrations with the Derbyshire Council trading standards team during its roadshow visit in Low Pavements, on Tuesday.

Trading standards officer Ade Parkin said: “We want to inform the people of Chesterfield of the dangers of illegal cigarettes and tobacco.

“The availability of illegal tobacco poses health implications and problems for genuine businesses and the sale of these kind of goods often fund organised crime.

“The sniffer dogs are used to locate hidden concealments in any premises that we visit such as in ceiling areas, behind panels and under floorboards.”

Mr Parkin explained that most imported illegal tobacco comes from abroad and is smuggled in.

The end-users of illegal tobacco, according to Mr Parkin, might not complain because they think they are getting a bargain but illegal tobacco sales pose a problem for legal shop keepers and create losses in public tax revenue.

Stuart Phillips, of BWY Canine which provides sniffer dogs for the trading standards team, said: “We get called in if trading standards feel they have a problem finding hidden illegal tobacco because the dogs’ keen sense of smell makes them better than a human search team.”