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Sniffer dogs help uncover stash of illegal tobacco in Stalybridge

Detection dogs helped Tameside Trading Standards and the police uncover a huge stash of illegal smoking products in Stalybridge.

Two shops – which cannot be named at the moment for legal reasons – were visited as part of Operation Delilah, a national crackdown on an organised crime group trading in illicit goods.

Officers seized 560 illegal vapes, 1,360 illicit cigarettes and 1.2kg (2.6lb) of rolling tobacco with a combined street value of £6,876. Inquiries were also made into under-age sales.

Tameside was one several North West authorities that took part in planned visits to numerous shops across the region. The results will be fed back to Warwickshire County Council, the lead authority, but enforcement action will be taken locally.

Cllr Denise Ward, Tameside Council’s executive member for environmental services, said: “The combined operation that took place on 5 June was a further demonstration of our determination to stop the groups feeding illegal smoking products into our borough.

“As I have said so often, this criminal activity damages legitimate businesses, undermines public health and facilitates the supply of tobacco to people who are under age.

“Public protection is a key priority for Tameside Council, so I am very pleased to see this successful joint work with the police helping to keep our communities safe as well as supporting responsible businesses that comply with the law.”

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