Specially trained dogs help sniff out dodgy tobacco in Banbury, Bicester and Oxford

Operation resulted in nearly 6,000 illegal cigarettes – many suspected of being counterfeit – being seized from a vehicle linked to one shop

Friday, 14th May 2021, 9:21 am
Updated Friday, 14th May 2021, 9:48 am
Detection dog Yoyo is a specially trained tobacco dog who has helped trading standards in their search for smuggled and fake tobacco products across the county. (Image from Oxfordshire County Council)

Specially trained tobacco dogs have given trading standards a helping paw in their search for smuggled and fake tobacco products across the county.

Detection dogs Yoyo and Cooper accompanied Oxfordshire County Council’s officers during visits in Banbury, Bicester and Oxford.

Premises were targeted based on prior intelligence. The visits resulted in nearly 6,000 illegal cigarettes – many suspected of being counterfeit – being seized from a vehicle linked to one shop and over 21,000 grams of shisha tobacco from another.

The initiative took place under Operation CeCe, a national trading standards campaign in partnership with HMRC, to tackle illegal tobacco.

Investigations remain ongoing with the seized products being fully assessed for compliance.

Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, said: "This was a successful operation and forms part of Oxfordshire County Council's ongoing strategy to identify and disrupt the supply of illegal tobacco.

"Criminals dealing in illegal tobacco provide a cheap source of supply that can easily end up in the hands of young people whose developing lungs are particularly sensitive to the harm tobacco causes. It also encourages adults to carry on smoking, when giving up would dramatically improve their health and wealth.”

No further details were available about where the illegal cigarettes and tobacco were seized across the county.

Information from the public is vital in helping to stamp out the supply of illegal tobacco. Reports can be made anonymously by calling 0300 999 6 999 or visit stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk