Trading Standards in Sandwell are now using sniffer dogs to detect illegal tobacco. Raids by Sandwell Trading Standards have uncovered 160,000 cigarettes and 61kg of tobacco worth around £100,000.  The illegal products were seized at premises across Sandwell by officers working with highly trained tobacco detection dogs to sniff out illegal tobacco.
As a result of the raids, seven traders have so far been successfully prosecuted, with one trader forced by pay £6,000 while another trader was given a 12 weeks prison sentence suspended for 18 months. One business owner was given a 12 month community order and ordered to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work.

In addition to the successful prosecutions, eight licensing reviews were requested by Trading Standards against offending traders for stocking illegal/counterfeit tobacco. Four premises licences were revoked, one suspended for two weeks and two had stricter conditions imposed.

Some of the tobacco products were found to be mouldy and short in weight by as much as 40%.

Some illicit tobacco brands failed to comply with safety standards which required a lit cigarette to be able to self-extinguish when not being actively smoked.

Darren Cooper, Sandwell Council Leader and cabinet member for Trading Standards said:

"Illegal cigarettes not only pose a risk to people’s health but those involved in their sale are often linked to other forms of criminal activity.

"I'm delighted to see tobacco detection dogs being put to such great use in sniffing out this significant threat to health".

Anyone being offered cheap tobacco or any other types of illicit goods should report it to Trading Standards by calling the confidential fakes hotline on 0300 303 2636, contact Crime stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111 or visit our website at