BLACK Labrador Ozzy was recently called upon by Wigan Council’s Trading Standards team to use his impressive powers of detection to unearth illicit goods when officers carried out raids at four premises.
The seasoned sniffer dog played an instrumental role, leading officers to the concealed bounty which included a range of fake and illegal goods such as tobacco, cigarettes, alcohol and cigarette lighters.
A shop on Bradshawgate in Leigh was raided during the operation and a mobile ‘pop’ man delivering door to door around Warrington Road, Leigh was also collared. Two shops in Ince were also raided.
The haul netted 8,000 cigarettes and around 17 kilos of hand rolling tobacco, much of it found to be fake. Officers also seized illegal Scotch whisky, ethnic tobacco products, unsafe electronic cigarettes and fake cigarette lighters.
Cllr Kevin Anderson, cabinet champion for communities and the environment, said: "Whilst the urge to buy so-called bargains ‘under the counter’ may prove irresistible, people need to consider the bigger picture.”
Julie Middlehurst, Wigan Council's Trading Standards Manager, adds: “Please don’t turn a blind eye to this issue. It isn’t a victimless crime. Children and young people could be getting hold of these products and potentially causing untold long term damage to their health.
"The sale of counterfeit goods is a serious criminal offence and carries a maximum penalty of 10 years imprisonment Anyone who wishes to contact Trading Standards in confidence can ring 01942 827476 or email firstname.lastname@example.org. They can also ring Crimestoppers 0800 555 111.