Dog sniffs out sale of illegal cigarettes

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A shop owner in Fraserburgh has been order to carry out unpaid work after a sniffer dog found him to be selling illegal cigarettes.

Haider Hassan Ali, 39, pled guilty to possessing for supply counterfeit and illicit cigarettes. He was sentenced at Peterhead Sheriff Court on August 10th to 120 hours unpaid work.

His shop, Nina’s on Broad Street, was inspected last May after officers ‘received intelligence’ that he was continuing the practice; despite being previously warned.

A specially-trained sniffer dog named Dixie was brought in on the bust.

Dixie helped the Trading Standards Officers find a ‘large quantity’ of illicit branded cigarettes concealed behind a wooden board in an area under the shop window. It was heard in court that Haider Hassan Ali had over 7000 cigarettes in his possession for supply without the consent of the trade mark owner.

It is estimated that illegal tobacco costs the UK economy £3 billion a year.

As well as the financial impact, illegal fags are often made in unsanitary conditions and can contain even higher levels of toxic ingredients than genuine brands.

And they have been even known to contain human and rat excrement, flies and asbestos.

Wilma Urquart, Trading Standards Manager, branded it as reckless.

“This an alarming example of someone putting profit before the safety of others.

“Smoking is harmful in any case, and counterfeit cigarettes only increase the risk to smokers,” she said.

She appealed to the public to contact Trading Standards on 01467 628323 if they suspect any nefarious retailing.