Counterfeit cigarettes seized from Wolverhampton shop owner
A Mercedes and more than 25,000 counterfeit cigarettes have been seized from a Wolverhampton shop owner.
TV star and specialist search dog Yoyo led Trading Standards and West Midlands Police to the A-Class Mercedes which was being used to store counterfeit tobacco by the owners of The Romanian Shop, based at Merridale Street West in the city.
The council’s Trading Standards team carried out ‘operation icarus’ on Friday after receiving reports of illegal sales of counterfeit and foreign cigarettes at the store.
Along with West Midlands Police, and specialist BWY Canine search dogs, the team inspected the entire property to search for hidden tobacco.
The team walked out the premises almost empty handed until Yoyo alerted his handler about the illegally parked Mercedes outside the store.
Around £15,000 worth of fake and genuine cigarettes - which have avoided UK duty were found in the boot of the £22,000 vehicle and taken for further examination.
Councillor Steve Evans, cabinet member for city environment at City of Wolverhampton Council said: “This is part of our ongoing operation to tackle the sale of illicit and counterfeit tobacco.
“Selling and supplying counterfeit tobacco is a serious crime that not only robs the public purse of much needed revenue, but also poses a real threat to public health.
“This is a perfect example of the hard work that is being undertaken by our trading standards team and the fantastic work we do with sniffer dogs who play a vital role in our success.”
Council officers also alerted its in-house environmental health team of cockroaches discovered on the premises. The team inspected the property the following morning and formally closed the store and is currently awaiting a court date.
Yoyo has been filmed helping to catch criminals using his sense of smell over the last six months and appeared on Dog Detectives show on Quest Red.