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Sniffer dog Nico helps Trading Standards uncover fake cigarettes

7 December 2017

A joint operation between Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police has led to the discovery and seizure of a large quantity of unsafe cigarettes and tobacco.

Nico Trading Standards dog

A search of a premises in Lincoln led to the discovery of illicit cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco. Initial indications are that the items recovered are both counterfeit and unsafe for consumption.

The discovery was made with the help of Nico, the tobacco detection dog, funded by Quit 51 Stop Smoking Service and supplied by Wagtail UK.

The items were discovered at the bottom of a refuse bin, hidden by a bag of rubbish on top. The items were covered in liquid which had seeped out of the refuse bag but were still intended for sale.

Senior Trading Standards Officer Kirsty Herbertson said: “The information we get from the public is vital in helping Trading Standards get these unsafe and counterfeit items off the streets.

“This is not a victimless crime. We know that money made from these items can often go towards funding more organised crime and possibly even people-trafficking.

“You never know what is going into these cigarettes and tobacco or what people are breathing into their lungs. It is clear these people have no regard for the wellbeing of the people who buy these products.

“There have been two deaths in the county that we know of from fires started by illegal cigarettes, which were found to not be self-extinguishing.

“Whenever we discover and seize a quantity like this it means we have been successful in preventing harmful products being sold in our communities.”

Principal Trading Standards officer Andy Wright said: “It is especially disappointing that a large quantity of cigarettes and tobacco was seized from one particular retail premises in Lincoln. Counterfeit, unsafe, and non-duty paid cigarettes have been seized from this premises on a number of previous occasions and criminal investigations instigated as a result.

“We had sought to enlist the assistance of the owner of the building in order to prevent further sales. It is unfortunate that this has not been successful and we have now found it necessary to include the owner in our investigations.”

If you have any concerns contact Trading Standards on 03454040506 or Crime Stoppers on 0800555111

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