Boo gives tobacco cheats a fright

They say man’s best friend is a dog and they have a reputation for keeping people safe in all sorts of circumstances.

Now pooch power has helped keep smokers in the Cumnock area safer, after Trading Standards Officers worked last week with Consumer Protection dogs to seize over 7000 illegal cigarettes from a shop in the town.

Thanks to a tip off from the public, Boo, a 2 year old Labrador/Wire Haired Pointer cross, gave tobacco cheats a fright, working with officers to sniff out  the huge haul of illegal cigarettes which pose a real threat to the health of anyone who smokes them.

The cigarettes Boo found were a mixture of counterfeit and imported product, which didn’t have standardised packaging or the legally required UK Govt health warnings.

Some, known as “illicit whites”, are produced by criminals abroad specifically for the black market. Such products are particularly dangerous for a number of reasons:-

  • Firstly, they may contain far higher levels of toxins than genuine cigarettes, making them a much higher health risk for users. 
  • Secondly the sellers can buy them more cheaply than normal cigarettes, undercutting prices offered by other law abiding retailers, while funding the activities of criminals. 
  • Thirdly they are not liable for the normal tax (around £2000 for this particular batch) which would normally go to the UK treasury, so the sellers are cheating the whole country of revenue.

East Ayrshire Council’s Trading Standards Service is committed to protecting consumers from potentially harmful products of every kind, while making sure that law abiding retailers, who take care to sell only legal products, can trade in a fair environment. 

In this instance it was thanks to the actions of responsible members of the public that this crime was detected. If you suspect that fake products are being sold, please email trading.standards@east-ayrshire.gov.uk to help keep everyone safe from crime and danger. Find out more about our Trading Standards Service