Posted: Fri 23rd Dec 2022

Flintshire firms sniffer dogs help find 250,000 illegal cigarettes following raids in North Wales

News and Info from Deeside, Flintshire, North Wales
This article is old - Published: Friday, Dec 23rd, 2022

Sniffer dogs from a specialist Flintshire based company followed their noses to help uncover illegal cigarettes in North Wales worth tens of thousands of pounds.

More than 250,000 illegal cigarettes and 20kg of rolling tobacco have been seized following raids across North Wales this month.

Officers from Trading Standards, Immigration Enforcement, Intellectual Property Office and North Wales Police visited shops and storage facilities in a number of locations including Bangor, Rhyl, Caernarfon, and Colwyn Bay.

The agencies were supported by international detection dog specialists, Wagtail UK, whose specially-trained canines were deployed in the raids.

Two premises have been closed down following the operation with one person arrested as investigations continue.

Roger Mapleson, lead officer for tobacco at Trading Standards Wales said: “Smoking kills over 5,000 people in Wales every year and half of all long term smokers will die as a direct consequence of their habit.

“Illegal tobacco is cigarettes or rolling tobacco that has been smuggled and where no duty has been paid.

“This means it can be sold for less than half the price of legitimate tobacco in the informal economy creating a significant problem in our communities.

“It makes it much easier for children to access tobacco and acquire a lifelong addiction and it makes it much harder for existing smokers to quit.

“The results of these raids demonstrate how effective joint operations can be. Illegal tobacco is distributed and supplied through organised criminal networks and this is often linked to other criminal activity and brings crime into our local communities.

“As well the large quantities of illegal tobacco recovered, officers seized £20,000 worth of illegal vapes along with a quantity of counterfeit perfume.”

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