Wirral Council's Trading Standards team recently took part in a joint operation with Merseyside Police, Wagtail sniffer dogs and HMRC to disrupt the sale of counterfeit tobacco in Wirral.
Targeting various shops across the borough, Wagtail dogs Billy, Buster and Ted helped to sniff out 2,320 cigarettes and 450 grams of hand rolling tobacco at one shop in Birkenhead. The tobacco was found behind a concealment in the store.
The sale of illicit tobacco is an area of great concern. It is dangerous to smokers who buy it and don’t know exactly what they are getting, and also because profits from counterfeit tobacco are often used to fund serious organised crime groups.
Genuine tobacco will be sold from a gantry, located behind the counter. It will be an a standardised green-coloured pack, and health warnings will be written in English alongside with a pictorial warning. Packs will also reference the NHS smoking cessation website.
If anyone in Wirral would like to report the sale of illicit or counterfeit tobacco, it can be done anonymously through the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06.