Two specialist sniffer dogs helped find a hidden stash of illegal tobacco on North Tyneside.
The dogs, trained to locate concealed tobacco, were used in a joint operation by North Tyneside Council’s Trading Standards team and Northumbria Police.
Four off-licences in the North Shields area were searched where cocker spaniel Yoyo found two hidden compartments under one of the store’s counters.
Inside were dozens of packets of Super King and Mayfair cigarettes, as well as hand rolling Turner tobacco – a mixture of counterfeit products and those that had no duty paid.
Coun John Harrison said: “I welcome this enforcement activity by our Trading Standards team and Northumbria Police.”
Chief Inspector Nicola Musgrove said: “This is an excellent example of partnership working to combat harm being caused in the community.”
“The sale of illegal cigarettes costs the public purse billions each year in unpaid duty, not to mention the obvious health risks associated with smoking which will be felt by young people who these items are regularly sold to.
“We will continue to act on intelligence and any information received to put a stop to illegal activities affecting our communities and to ensure those responsible for it are dealt with appropriately.
“Anyone who has any concerns in their neighbourhood should speak to their local officers.”
North Tyneside Council’s Trading Standards service is delivered on behalf of the local authority by its partner Capita.