Sniffer dogs help seize illegal cigarettes worth £300,000 in Croydon

Tracked down illegal tobacco from Croydon
Specialist detection dogs Cooper and Yoyo uncovered more than 216,000 illegal cigarettes and 350 kilograms of hand-rolling tobacco from a self-storage unit in Croydon (Photo: BWY Canine)

Specialist detection dogs have tracked down illegal tobacco worth over £300,000 from a Croydon storage unit.

In a joint operation by Croydon Council trading standards and HMRC, aided by Cooper and Yoyo from  BWY Canine, a leading supplier of specialist search dogs, more than 216,000 illegal cigarettes and 350 kilograms of hand-rolling tobacco were uncovered when officers swooped a self-storage unit in the north of the borough on 1 December.

The crackdown was part of Operation CeCe, a joint initiative between National Trading Standards and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) to tackle the illegal tobacco trade.

The trading standards said the majority of the tobacco was non-duty paid and suspected to have been smuggled into the country, with a proportion being counterfeits of popular brands. The investigation remains ongoing and the seized products will now be fully assessed as part of the inquiry to determine the exact offences that have been committed.

“Far from being a victimless crime, illegal tobacco trading provides affordable access for children and young people, makes it harder for people to give up as the product is cheaper, and affects the trade of legitimate retailers. This also supports the organised criminal gangs who smuggle the tobacco in and sell it on which has deep links to modern-day slavery,” Cllr Manju Shahul-Hameed, cabinet member for communities, safety and business recovery at Croydon Council, said.

“I would like to say a big thank you to all those involved in this operation. The work you have undertaken has been fantastic and will benefit many of our residents.”