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Canny canine sniffs out huge haul of illegal cigarettes from behind bathroom shower

A sharp-nosed sniffer dog found a stash of thousands of illegal cigarettes hidden behind the wall of a bathroom shower.

Almost 150,000 were seized in the police raids when the animal uncovered the hidden batch concealed behind the tiled wall of a fully functioning shower.

Officers also found cigarettes hidden behind ceiling tiles and in parked vans in a series of raids in Chatham by Kent Police last Friday.

Four businesses in the town were visited by officers working in partnership with HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and Medway Council.

A specialist search dog helped uncover thousands of cigarettes concealed behind a tiled wall in a fully functioning shower

Inspector Steve Bassett, from Kent Police, said: “We have an excellent relationship with Medway Council, HMRC and BWY Canine Specialist Search Dogs, who train dogs to search for tobacco.

“We are all committed to clamping down on such activity. As this day shows, offenders often go to great lengths to conceal their products but we have the expertise and resources to carry out proactive action.

“Our activity caused significant disruption to well organised offenders who are seeking to profit at the taxpayer’s expense. Offending like this is not a harmless crime, these items are often brought into the country by organised crime groups who we cannot allow to go unchallenged.

“Opportunistic shopkeepers who sell these items also gain an unfair advantage over law abiding businesses and this can have a detrimental impact on the livelihoods of shop holders acting legitimately.”

Officials claimed the illegal tobacco is “incredibly dangerous” and could encourage children to take up smoking due to its low sale price.

Cllr David Brake, from Medway Council, said: “Illegal tobacco is incredibly dangerous and can cause serious health problems. It is also sold at incredibly low prices which could encourage children and young people to take up smoking.”

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