Dog sniffs out illegal cigarette stash in Durham

Jack the sniffer dog

A dog has sniffed out more than 27,000 cigarettes without the appropriate health warnings in County Durham.

The cigarettes were found at The Winestore in Blackhall Colliery.

A sniffer dog led Durham County Council officers to the room where the items were being kept.

The shopkeeper has now been prosecuted by the council for breaching tobacco safety regulations and ordered to pay more than £1,800.

Peterlee Magistrates Court on Monday heard how council consumer protection officers visited the Middle Street shop accompanied by search dogs Jack and Buster, in March following a complaint.

Shopkeeper Kamran Adil, 45, of Halterburn Close, Gosforth, was the only person in the store. He initially stated that the door leading to the items belonged to the people upstairs and that he only owned the ground floor of the property. He denied anything behind the door belonged to him. He eventually opened it with a key.

Behind the door was a large stash of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco. More cigarettes were found in a leather jacket hanging up behind the counter.

In all there were 873 packs of 20 Blue Brass cigarettes - 17,460 in all, 512 packs of 20 Jim cigarettes - 10,240 in total and 14.75 kilograms of Turner hand rolling tobacco in 50 gram packs.

27,000 cigarettes were found

The court heard all the items contravened legislation which requires a pictorial health warning be displayed on one of the most visible surfaces of the packet. Some also had warnings written in foreign languages, with the legislation requiring they be in English.Kamran Adil told officers he had bought the cigarettes in the jacket from a customer, for £4 per pack. He said he was storing the cigarettes and tobacco in the store room for a friend.

The total street value of the goods was estimated at between £7,900 and £8,125.

Adil pleaded guilty to three charges under the Tobacco Products (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale)(Safety) Regulations 2002.

He apologised and said he had ‘tried to do a lad a favour.’

Magistrates fined Adil £1,000 and ordered him to pay costs of £722.77 and a victim surcharge of £100 - a total of £1,822.77.