Police dog is so good at sniffing out illegal tobacco that smuggling gangs have put a £25,000 bounty on his head
- Springer spaniel Scamp has found £6million of illegal tobacco in just five years
- His effectiveness in sniffing out illegal contraband has angered many criminals
- A bounty of £25,000 has been placed on the dog’s head, forcing him to lie low
A £25,000 bounty has been placed on a sniffer dog’s head after nailing a string of criminals who illegally smuggled cigarettes and tobacco into the country.
Springer spaniel Scamp is now lying low after the bounty was placed on his head.
His incredible sense of smell has proved to be a thorn in the side of criminals, as Scamp has sniffed out £6million-worth of illegal tobacco in just five years.
Criminals placed the bounty on Scamp after a string of court cases in Birmingham, Sussex, Newcastle, Northampton and Great Yarmouth.
Springer spaniel Scamp is now lying low after the bounty was placed on his head
Owner Stuart Phillips, 40, of Llandissilio, Pembrokeshire, said Scamp was a big threat to criminals looking to smuggle goods into the country.
Mr Phillips said: ‘We had to stop working in one part of the country last year, because there was a £25,000 bounty put on his head.
‘It was believed to be linked to an organised crime group and the relevant authorities were informed.
‘I’ve also had death threats, my windscreen has been smashed and my tyres slashed.
‘It’s understandable really, when you’re upsetting some really nasty people.’
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Mr Phillips, of B.W.Y Canine Ltd, has trained specialist detection dogs to sniff out tobacco, firearms, drugs, explosives, meat and even human remains.
He has worked with more than 100 local authorities across Britain and other international clients.
Tobacco smuggling has left Scamp and Mr Phillips with a huge workload.
He said: ‘It is a massive problem in terms of the volume available and the fact that it’s so readily available in shops.
Scamp was trained to be able to sniff out illegal contraband which had been smuggled into the UK
‘It’s available on social media, through Facebook, and in Wales we have what are generally called fag houses, people selling from their houses.’
Cigarettes are sold at ‘pocket money prices’ – making them readily available to children. The cigarettes have a dark history as they are often linked to serious organised crime.
An experienced sniffer dog like Scamp has been trained to find everything from a single cigarette to a whole pallet’s worth.
The dog has also been trained to sniff out bank notes and has even uncovered as much as £60,000 in cash.
Trading Standards officers are calling for a government taskforce to tackle the problem – warning illicit tobacco sellers target Wales due to a lack of investment in enforcement.
A survey by Action on Smoking and Health in 2014 found that around one million illegal cigarettes a day are sold in Wales – the highest in Britain.
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