About £30,000 worth of illicit goods have been seized over the past six months as Telford & Wrekin Council works with its partners to protect consumers.
Five convenience shops were targeted by trading standards officers in the latest operation, supported by the council’s night-time economy team and West Mercia Police.
Detection dogs Cooper, a Labrador and spaniels Bran and Griff sniffed out a haul of cigarettes, tobacco and vapes hidden behind shelving at two of the premises.
Officers also confiscated bottles of brandy.
A Telford & Wrekin Council spokesperson for enforcement said: “These searches were part of our ongoing enforcement work to tackle the sale of counterfeit and illicit goods.
“This is not a victimless crime. The unscrupulous traders who sell these products at pocket money prices do so without any regard for people’s health and safety and particularly young people who we know are more likely to buy them, which can lead to addiction.
“Our message to the public is to be very careful because you don’t know what these products contain.
“As well as the potential harm to health, the sale of cheap, fake and illegal goods undercuts law-abiding businesses.
"By working with our partners, we will continue to carry out these operations to stop people making money from selling these products and using the profits to fund organised crime."
PC Sharon Major, of West Mercia Police, said: “We have worked closely with Telford & Wrekin Council and acted on intelligence received to carry out these raids.
“It is an essential part of our work to protect consumers and we will continue to be vigilant and act where necessary.”
If you think someone in Telford and Wrekin is selling fake or illegal goods, you can call the confidential consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.