A CANINE crime busting trio have been lauded by Dudley Council and the police after helping seize more than 6,100 illegal cigarettes and more than 2kg of illicit tobacco across the borough.

Black Labradors Ozzie and Murphy along with Spaniel Murphy are used by Dudley Council’s Trading Standards team to visit shops and homes suspected of selling or hoarding unlawful tobacco.

This nasally-skilled trio sniffed out packets that may have been impossible to find without their specialist sense of smell, which is tens of thousands of times more sensitive to odours than a human.

Ozzie even found one stash of tobacco hidden in the base compartment of a kitchen cupboard.

The haul included counterfeit and non-duty paid tobacco products, which cannot be legally sold in the UK.

Officers also found counterfeit or illegal alcohol and DVDs leaving staff who led the raids are delighted with the results.

Councillor Stuart Turner, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “This is an excellent result. Sniffer dogs are trained to find the smallest amount of tobacco products, which is really important, because these products are unregulated and could be far more harmful to people’s health than tobacco or cigarettes alone.

“We hope that we are sending a strong message to people who deal in counterfeit tobacco that we are watching you, and if we catch you we will seize your products and prosecute you.”

Anyone with information on the sale of illegal tobacco should call Dudley’s Trading Standards team on 01384 814600.