Scamp, a West Sussex Trading Standards sniffer dog, has brought justice to four men in Worthing.
On 6 November 2017, Trading Standards officers took Scamp to visit a shop in Montague Street, Worthing.
The Spaniel managed to sniff out 185 tobacco pouches and 231 cigarette packets, some of which were concealed in the stock room wall.
On 7 December 2017, officers returned to the shop and discovered an employee leaving the shop with a holdall filled with more illicit tobacco.
More cigarette packets were found at his home address.
Debbie Kennard, West Sussex county council cabinet member for safer, stronger communities, said:
“Selling fake tobacco is a serious crime that will not be tolerated in West Sussex.
“Anyone tempted to conduct this type of illegal activity should be warned that Scamp, along with Trading Standards officers, will sniff you out.”
The owner of the shop, Jamal Hassan, along with Shamal Namiq, Karim Esmail and Borhan Abdulrahman were sentenced at Worthing Magistrates Court.
They must undertake 200 hours community service and pay more than £4,000.
Samples of the discovered tobacco were found to be either unsafe, foreign labelled, not carrying the correct warnings or counterfeit.
Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards team manager, said:
“Cheap, illegal tobacco products may seem like an attractive option for customers but they also carry increased risks.
“They often do not self-extinguish and are therefore more likely to cause fires.”
Anyone concerned about the sale of illicit tobacco and cigarettes should contact Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06.
Alternatively, details can be reported online here.