SNIFFING OUT ILLEGAL CIGARETTES (AND DOG-ENDS)
Residents and shoppers in Southwark had the chance to meet the specially trained dogs that are helping the council detect illegal tobacco in the area.
The event took place as part of the ‘Keep It Out’ campaign, an initiative led by Southwark council and five neighbouring boroughs to highlight the dangers of illegal tobacco.
Residents were given the opportunity to watch sniffer dogs Yoyo, Scamp and Phoebe give a detection demonstration. Information was also provided on how to identify illegal tobacco products as well as details of how to report retailers who illegally distribute the products.
Southwark’s cabinet member communities and safety Cllr Michael Situ said: “Much like genuine cigarettes, illegal tobacco poses a great danger to local communities.
“Unfortunately many people will not know that these products are supporting criminal activities.
“As a council, we’ve been working with neighbouring boroughs, the police and HMRC (HM Revenue and Customs) to enforce against those that sell these illegal products in our borough.
“We’re also very supportive of the ‘Keep It Out’ campaign and its efforts to raise awareness in South London.”
Stuart Phillips, detection dog handler for the company supplying the dogs, said: “We’ve used the dogs as a big part of engaging with the public and it’s been very successful. “People have learned a lot and are more aware now and it acts as a deterrent for those who are involved with illegal tobacco.”
Residents are encouraged to report suspected sales of illegal tobacco by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or via the online form at www.keep-it-out.co.uk
(Source: Southwark council press release)