The illegal tobacco industry has continued to thrive throughout lockdown and Walsall Trading Standards, in partnership with West Midlands Police and a specialist search-dog team, swooped on local shops and vehicles during Operation Dobermann last week.
Assisting boots on the ground were three highly trained sniffer dogs, Yoyo, Maggie and Cooper, in what is one of Walsall’s most lucrative raids to date.
Cigarettes and tobacco were found behind the counter in shops and in car boots, with a single stash of 129,000 counterfeit cigarettes and 53kg of tobacco found in a van in Caldmore.
In one store, tobacco dog Yoyo sniffed out a sophisticated concealment whereby a key fob operated the movement of part of a wall in the storeroom revealing numerous packets of illicit cigarettes.
Councillor Garry Perry, deputy leader for resilient communities and portfolio holder for public protection in Walsall said: “This is fantastic work by Walsall Trading Standards officers and the police at a time when the pressures on these services are already immense due to the Covid-19 pandemic and national lockdown.
“These raids show we need to remain vigilant in our efforts to stamp out the