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Sniffer dogs help Trading Standards find illegal cigarettes and tobacco from Maidstone shops

Sniffer dogs have helped officers at Trading Standards seize more than 35,000 illegal cigarettes from shops in Maidstone.

They were discovered over two days during an initiative supported by Kent Police Community Safety Unit and Maidstone Borough Council’s Community Protection Team.

Yoyo, one of the sniffer dogs involved in the raids
Yoyo, one of the sniffer dogs involved in the raids

Dogs Yoyo and Scamp, supplied by specialists BWY Canine, assisted in locating the hidden supplies in a series of raids.

The tobacco seized was a mixture of counterfeit English brands as well as a number of smuggled products.

In addition to 34,880 cigarettes, 7.8kg of hand rolling tobacco and 18.8kg of shisha molasses were seized.

The find comes as part of Operation CeCe, a National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC.

Oliver Jewell, who led the operation for KCC Trading Standards, said: “Illegal tobacco brings crime into your community and should not be tolerated.

"It undermines local legitimate businesses, funds organised crime and also makes smoking more affordable for young people and those attempting to quit.

“We will continue to work alongside our enforcement partners, taking action against the sale of this counterfeit tobacco for as long as this illegal trade continues, in order to protect the safety and rights of the residents and businesses of Kent.”

Residents who become aware of shops selling illegal tobacco can report them anonymously through 0300 999 6 999 or by visiting www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk.

Read more: All the latest news from Maidstone

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