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NewsSniffer dog detects thousands of illicit cigarettes

Sniffer dog detects thousands of illicit cigarettes

Dixie, the tobacco detection dog, has been praised after sniffing out illicit tobacco stashed in a Harpurhey shop.

More than 6,000 counterfeit cigarettes seized in November 2021, when Trading Standards officers from Manchester City Council searched B&A Corner Shop, in Cicero Street.

Following a complaint, officers were searching for illicit tobacco that was allegedly being sold from the premises.

Dixie (pictured) and her handler from Wagtail UK, sniffed out the cigarettes and a quantity of hand rolling tobacco, which had been hidden throughout the shop.

After searching behind shelving units and in a back storeroom, a total of 6,020 cigarettes and 750g of hand rolling tobacco were seized.

After being sent away for testing it was determined the items were either counterfeit, or destined for European markets and not intended for sale in the UK.

Defendant Hashmat Ullah-Mohammadzey (33) of Cicero Street, Manchester, pleaded guilty to a string of offences relating to the Trade Marks Act, Tobacco Regulations and Standardised Packaging Regulations, on Monday at Tameside Magistrates Court.

In mitigation he claimed he was “uneducated” and was told to hide the tobacco in the store to prevent it being stolen.


He was sentenced to pay a fine of £750, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £75 and court costs of £1,499.

A forfeiture order was granted for the seized products.

Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon  said: “This is a positive outcome and I am grateful for the hard work and dedication shown by our Trading Standards officers and legal team.

“Pleading ignorance is no excuse when it comes to selling illicit tobacco and we will always work to ensure that offenders are punished for breaking the law.

“Illicit tobacco causes real and lasting harm to our communities, and we are committed to stubbing out its future sale.”

Helen Greaney
Helen Greaney
I'm a journalist with more than 18 years' experience on local, regional and national newspapers, as well as PR and digital marketing. Crime and the courts is my specialist area but I'm also keen to hear your stories concerning Manchester and the greater North West region.
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