Smokers in East Ayrshire can now breathe more easily thanks to the vigilance of the public, the thorough investigations of Trading Standards, and the tobacco tracking talents of Dixie the Consumer Protection dog.
Last Friday’s seizure of almost 16000 illegal cigarettes and 3kg of potentially dangerous hand rolling tobacco, from a shop in Cumnock, was a major victory in the war on fake and potentially harmful products waged every day by Trading Standards officers.
Sale of counterfeit tobacco poses many risks to users and the community as Councillor Jim McMahon, Cabinet Member for Community Safety, East Ayrshire Council explains: “Our Trading Standards Team is fully committed to protecting consumers from potentially harmful products like this fake tobacco. Its sale not only risks the health of those who use it, it cheats the treasury of around £5000 of unpaid duty, it creates an unfair trading environment for other law abiding traders, who invest in legitimate stock and pay their way in duty and who are often struggling to compete in this difficult economic climate.
“For smokers, fake tobacco can be much more harmful than regulated products, they can contain all sorts of toxins, and we’d urge everyone to take care that they’re using legitimate tobacco and report any suspicions.
“Dixie the dog was the star on this occasion, being a spaniel, her nose is SO well tuned to finding these products. She’s helped us before and ultimately she is a life saver. We’re all very pleased to be able to work with her and her handler as part of our operations.
“At the end of the day, we’re also very grateful to members of the public who made us aware of the situation. Our Trading Standards team exists to protect everyone from harmful products. They are there to help the public in any difficult consumer situation, but it’s a two way process. Reporting any suspicions or worries about shops or transactions is vital for them to build up a picture and take effective action for the good of the whole community.
“Trading Standards are also there to protect our hard working traders. In this instance, we’ve helped make sure those who play by the rules aren’t losing out to unscrupulous people who would undercut their business.
“They’re here to keep everyone safe, and make the trading environment as fair as possible for all who use it. Friday’s seizure was a prime example of how, with the public and Trading Standards pulling together, we can help protect everyone from harm and loss.”
find out more about East Ayrshire Trading Standards