Award for sniffer dog Scamp the scourge of the smugglers
A springer spaniel with a nose for illicit tobacco and cash has received an award.
Scamp, who has helped sniff out hundreds of thousands of fake cigarettes across the Black Country, was named the Institute’s Hero in the Chartered Trading Standards Institute Hero Awards 2019.
And a full presentation was held for eight-year-old Scamp, who is believed to have been responsible for locating £6 million worth of illegal tobacco and more than £1.5 million in cash across the UK.
Dog handler Stuart Phillips, whose company supplies sniffer dogs for councils and police forces, said: “He’s superb – a brilliant dog, and he’s a really reliable search dog.
“He’s trained to find tobacco and cash, bank notes, and we work with the trading standards team in Wolverhampton, Sandwell, Walsall and Dudley – quite a few. We’re very proud and overwhelmed.
“We were told that they’ve never had so many nominations for one award.
“Working with Scamp, it’s really lovely.”
Over the years Scamp has regularly sniffed out major hauls in the region, including more than £29,000 worth of illegal cigarettes and tobacco in West Bromwich, around 25,000 fake cigarettes at a Willenhall shop and and illicit booze and cigarettes worth more than £150,000 in Wolverhampton.
Earlier this year he was on the scene as around 70,000 fake cigarettes and an estimated £40,000 worth of counterfeit goods were found stored in garden sheds in Wolverhampton.
Indeed he's so good at his job that Mr Phillips revealed in January how he and Scamp had had to stop working in one part of the country after a £25,000 bounty was put on Scamp's head.
At the award presentation, the dog’s best bits were showcased on video, including several of the successful operations with trading standards.
Mr Phillips, who owns and runs BWY Canine, added: “He’s your usual springer spaniel – full of energy and very active. He is quite an unsociable dog, but he enjoys his work and he enjoys his time being sat on the sofa sleeping.”
Paul Dosanjh, service lead for trading standards at Wolverhampton Council, said: “I think Scamp attracts the public, he attracts people who like dogs, young people and older people, and once we get people to listen we can share the message of illicit tobacco.
“It’s not right our retailers are being undercut by someone who is breaking the rules – it’s criminality.
“Scamp helps us to find places we couldn’t. And we have a close working relationship with him which means he is popular amongst the staff, workers and with the public.
“I think because the dog is cute the idea of dealing with illicit tobacco is received better – the public are more receptive to it.”