Wales

Sniffer dog Scamp has '£25k bounty' put on his head

Scamp Image copyright Ash Wales
Image caption Springer spaniel Scamp has uncovered an impressive amount in his five-year career

A sniffer dog called Scamp has sniffed out £6m-worth of illegal tobacco - leading to a £25,000 "bounty" being placed on him, his owner says.

Scamp is part of Pembrokeshire-based BWY Canine which works with 100 UK councils to target smuggling of cigarettes, drugs and firearms.

His owner Stuart Phillips said the spaniel's powerful sense of smell had upset "some very nasty people".

In a survey Ash Wales said 15% of all tobacco sold in Wales was illegal.

This amounts to about one million cigarettes a day.

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 [Scamp's] 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."

Image caption Lorry drivers have been caught trying to enter Wales with millions of pounds worth of cigarettes

Illegal tobacco is smuggled in from as far away as China and Russia, and sold for what Mr Phillips described as "pocket-money prices".

Figures show 150,000 illegal products were seized in Wales since 2013 with tobacco the "commodity of choice" for gangs because of a lack of investment in enforcement, an officer said.

The Welsh Government said it was considering tackling the problem through a central communication and enforcement programme, rather than dealing with it at a local level.

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