A tobacco detection dog has helped inspectors discover 36,400 illegal cigarettes and 12.85kg of tobacco worth more than £25,000.
The items were seized during a visit by council trading standards and licensing officers alongside Greater Manchester Police on Wednesday (5 June).
Pippa, a springer spaniel provided by Wagtail UK, helped to detect the concealed stashes of tobacco at two premises in Bury.
The seizure included counterfeit tobacco and tobacco on which duty had not been paid, which cannot be legally sold in the UK.
The visits were part of the Greater Manchester Keep It Out campaign, which aims to educate residents and businesses about illegal tobacco and encourage the reporting of it. Officers also set up a stall on Bury Market on Wednesday to highlighting the issues surrounding illicit tobacco to shoppers.
To read more about the Keep it Out campaign, go to http://www.gmhsc.org.uk/illegal-tobacco-campaign-aims-to-stop-children-getting-hooked/
Councillor Jane Black, Bury Council’s cabinet member for corporate affairs and HR, said: “Those who deal in cheap illegal tobacco are encouraging people to continue to smoke, and unscrupulous traders often target young people. The detection dogs can find tobacco and cigarettes, even if hidden in the most unlikely places. Offenders need to know that they will face consequences if they choose to deal in these illegal products.”
Angela Lomax, head of trading standards and licensing at Bury Council, added: “Along with our colleagues in GMP and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, we have been working to reduce the supply of, and demand for, cheap illegal tobacco.
“Greater Manchester is leading the way in tobacco control in the UK, by aiming to reduce smoking at a pace and scale greater than any other major global city.”
Do you know where illegal tobacco is being sold? Report it anonymously by calling Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 or at https://keep-it-out.co.uk/anonymous-reporting/