In dogged pursuit of cigarette cheaters...

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MEET the cannine crime fight machines sniffing out legal cigarettes from St Helens’ streets.

Labrador Murphy and spinger spaniel Milo have been recruited by St Helens Council’s trading standards department.

And doggy duo have already earned their crust using their keen sense of smell to uncover several hauls of illicit tobacco.

Trained and provided by specialist company Wagtail UK Ltd – who also work for the UK Border Agency – the dogs can detect many different scents including tobacco and cash, which are often carefully concealed and otherwise impossible to find.

Councillor Richard McCauley, cabinet member for Environmental Protection and Safer Communities, said: “These dogs are a fantastic resource for the Trading Standards Team to be able to call on for assistance.

“The fight against those in our communities who supply illicit tobacco, especially to children, is ongoing, but now we’ve got some extra help.

“However I would urge anyone aware of places where illegal tobacco is being supplied, to report it to Trading Standards.”

Anyone selling tobacco which is either counterfeit or smuggled risks committing a range of criminal offences. Those selling it from their homes, workplaces or the pub often have no regard for what they sell and who they sell it to - making it easier for children to buy.