New police search puppies join crackdown on Hartlepool bootleg tobacco sales

Trading standards bosses, police and trainee search puppies have joined forces in a new crackdown on illicit tobacco sales.

Tuesday, 17th August 2021, 12:23 pm

A number of premises were targeted in Hartlepool by Hartlepool Borough Council’s trading standards department and Cleveland Police.

They were assisted by a specially trained dog unit that can recognise and identify counterfeit tobacco.

A significant number of items were seized from one property and Ian Harrison, the council’s trading standards and licensing manager, said “The sale of illegal tobacco not only has a detrimental impact on local communities but it helps fund a number of other illegal activities whilst removing sales and income from genuine shops and suppliers.

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Trainee Cleveland Police search puppies Kev and Griff with members of the Hartlepool Neighbourhood Policing Team.

“Hartlepool trading standards will continue to work with Cleveland Police to ensure businesses in the area comply with the law to ensure a level playing field for consumers and businesses alike.”

PC Geoff Coggin, from Hartlepool Neighbourhood Policing Team, said: “This joint operation saw us using specially-trained search dogs to assist with our warrants and target those suspected of being involved with illicit tobacco.

“New search puppies Griff and Kevin also attended the warrants as trainees.

“We know the sale of illicit cigarettes causes harm in our communities and has links to organised crime. We would encourage anyone with information to speak to Police on 101. Alternatively you can speak to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 and you don’t even have to give your name.”

If you know of someone who is selling illegal tobacco then you can report it anonymously to the trading standards department on (01429) 523364 or alternatively by emailing [email protected],gov.uk.

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