Shropshire Star

Illegal vapes and cigarettes found in sniffer dog raids in Telford and Wrekin

A haul of potentially harmful vapes along with cigarettes and tobacco, totalling about £30,000, has been seized in raids on shops in Shropshire.

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Springer Spaniel, Griff, sniffs out a stash of illegal goods under the counter during a raid on a shop in Telford and Wrekin.

More than 500 illegal vapes were discovered in the busts across Telford & Wrekin.

Some of those uncovered contained 16 times the legal amount of nicotine.

Almost 1,500 packs of illicit cigarettes and 100 packs of tobacco were also recovered in the raids, which were carried out by Telford & Wrekin Council and West Mercia Police.

Detection dogs Bran and Griff were part of the searches and helped to sniff out stashes hidden in concealed compartments and under counters in shops across the borough.

Councillor Richard Overton, Telford & Wrekin Council's Deputy Leader and Cabinet Member for Homes & Enforcement said: “As a result of intelligence our trading standards officers joined forces with West Mercia Police to carry out a series of raids on shops believed to be selling fake and illegal goods.

“Those responsible had gone to great lengths to conceal the products but our sniffer dogs are highly trained and will pick up the scent no matter where the stash is hidden.

“This was a very successful operation which has led to significant quantities of illicit goods being confiscated and prevented from falling into the hands of unsuspecting members of the public.

“It’s particularly concerning that some vapes contained about 10,000 puffs when the legal limit is 600 and we know that rates of vaping among young people in the borough are on the rise.

“Our investigations will continue and further action against the shop owners is likely to follow. We will continue to work with partners and act on intelligence received to stamp out this crime, so I urge people to report any suspicions they have.”

People in Telford and Wrekin can report those suspected of selling fake or illegal goods on the confidential consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133.