Stuart Phillips, Managing Director of B.W.Y Canine Ltd.
Started his law enforcement career over 18 years ago and has been a dog handler, trainer and instructor since 2000.
A total of 13,500 illegal cigarettes and 250g of illegal hand-rolling tobacco were confiscated from four of six stores which were swooped on.
The raids, part of a crackdown on suppliers of illegal tobacco, were led by trading standards officers who were accompanied by members of Norfolk Constabulary’s licensing, drug and alcohol team, Norwich City Council officers and Stuart Phillips of B.W.Y Canine Ltd with tobacco detection dogs Scamp and Yoyo.
The shops were all targeted as a result of intelligence received from members of the public, businesses and Norfolk Constabulary.
Brian Chatten, community safety and fair trading manager at trading standards, said: “The inspections carried out today show that there are retailers in the county who are making smoking more accessible to children by selling illegal tobacco at pocket money prices. Retailers who sell illegal tobacco are putting the health of the young people of Norfolk at even greater risk and are also supporting the organised crime gangs who we know are linked to this criminal activity.
“Hopefully these raids will raise awareness of our campaign to crack down on sellers of illegal tobacco and encourage local residents to come forward with any information they may have. Trading standards and the police are always ready to respond to any information they receive.”
The latest action follows on from the success of trading standards’ illegal tobacco campaign in the last financial year.
Sophie Leney, Norfolk County Council’s head of trading standards, said: “Today’s inspections continue our work to protect the most vulnerable residents in our communities by cracking down on criminals who prey on them.
“Last service year, we were involved in the seizure of 183,820 illegal cigarettes and 49.1kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco. This resulted in formal enforcement action including prosecution and review of premises alcohol licences, banning sales of alcohol from stores where illegal tobacco has been found.”
People can provide information by calling the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or call police on 101.