ILLEGAL tobacco traders in town have been sniffed out by two four-legged friends.

Cheshire West and Chester Council's Trading Standards officers enlisted the help of tobacco detection dogs Willow and Ted during recent operations in Northwich and Chester.

The dogs, provided by Wagtail UK Ltd, helped detect concealed stashes of tobacco and cigarettes in two of the premises searched, allowing Trading Standards to seize the haul.

Cllr Karen Shore, cabinet member for environment and community at CWAC, said: “Tobacco detection dogs have become valued members of our regulatory services team.

“People may be tempted by the cheap price tag, but it's worth considering the great cost to your health, safety and community.

"Illegal tobacco supports other criminal activity and has many damaging effects on our local communities, as well as causing poor health.

“Dogs like Willow and Ted can find tobacco and cigarettes even if they are hidden in the most unlikely places.

"Offenders need to know that they will face prosecution if they choose to deal in these illegal products.”

Willow and Ted sniffed out discoveries in cavities in the wall, hidden behind a cupboard and mirror with an electronic magnet system securing the entry point.

Seizures included cigarettes and tobacco that were not in standardised packaging and failed to contain health warnings in English. These products cannot be legally sold in the UK.

Anyone with information about the sale of illegal tobacco can pass the details on to Trading Standards confidentially through Citizens Advice Consumer Service on: 03454 040506

Alternatively, you can anonymously call the Tackling Illegal Tobacco hotline on 0300 999 0000 or report online at