TRAINED sniffer dog Alfie has been working with trading standards officers in Poole in a crackdown on illegal tobacco supply.
The three-year-old collie springer spaniel cross, took part in Operation Henry, with officers from Borough of Poole and HM Revenue and Customs, raiding 10 premises across the borough.
Their visits on July 14, as part of an operation across nine regions in England, followed tip-offs from members of the public about the availability of cheap, illegal tobacco products.
Several tobacco stores were found on the day, but all turned out to be genuine products.
Peter Haikin, regulatory services manager, Borough of Poole, said: "We are pleased to see that no illicit tobacco supplies were found during this operation.
“Trading Standards will use all available resources to ensure that illegal tobacco is not sold within the borough. Using tobacco detection dogs is an invaluable tool that we will continue to use to tackle the illegal tobacco trade.”
Cllr Xena Dion, cabinet portfolio holder for a Prosperous and Sustainable Poole, Borough of Poole, said: “Having cheap, illegal tobacco available in Poole can make it easier for our children to start smoking, so we are really pleased that no supplies were found. However, we are concerned that the public consistently say it is available locally.
“We would encourage anyone with information about the sales or supplies of illegal tobacco to contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555111. Information can be given in confidence and it will be acted upon.”
The local stores visited during the operation were thanked for their co-operation and offered guidance on how to avoid illegal supplies.
Advice for traders, as well as posters and leaflets about illegal tobacco, is available from Borough of Poole on 01202 261700 or email firstname.lastname@example.org Further information on the illegal tobacco campaign is available at stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk