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Day of action to stamp out illegal tobacco sales in Wales

Credit: ITV Cymru Wales

Sniffer dogs and Trading Standards officers will be out in Port Talbot talking to the public about the sale of illegal tobacco in their communities.

It's a part of an international day of action marking World No Tobacco Day.

Anti-smoking charity, Ash Cymru, say illegal tobacco makes it easier for children to start smoking.

This follows an ITV Cymru Wales investigation that found illegal tobacco made up 15% of all sales in Wales and that it was being sold for as little as £3.

No matter where tobacco comes from, it is harmful but illegal tobacco is an added risk because it is sold to children and brings crime into our communities.

Smoking is an addiction which nearly always begins in childhood. The availability of cheap cigarettes - sold by criminals who don't care - gives children the opportunity to start a life-long and potentially deadly habit.

– Suzanne Cass, Chief Executive of ASH Wales

The event is being hosted by Neath Port Talbot County Council and members of the public will have the opportunity to meet sniffer dogs and report to sales of illegal tobacco in their community to police.

Illegal cigarettes are sold at pocket money prices by criminals who are happy to profit from our children's future. This is why I am so keen that we get them off our streets, and it's why this campaign is so necessary.

– Councillor Des Davies, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Public Protection

Cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco are classed as illegal if they've either been smuggled into the country, bought abroad as 'duty free' and avoided UK taxes, or are counterfeit products made to look like big name brands.

The sale of illegal tobacco has been linked to money laundering, modern slavery and child exploitation.

Watch the sniffer dogs demonstrate their ability to detect some illegal tobacco which had been planted in ITV earlier: