A sniffer dog who has helped to uncover more than £8m worth of illicit tobacco in the last six years has been awarded the top prize at the annual Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) Hero Awards 2019 - the first time the accolade has been handed to an animal.
Springer spaniel Scamp has been involved in “countless” trading standards raids throughout the years, including a recent raid on a Walsall shop in which he found 25,000 illicit cigarettes.
Scamp was brought in after an extensive search of the premises had failed to find illicit products.
After immediately picking up a scent behind a plug socket, Scamp led officers to a concealed chute leading to a hidden room, where a man worked passing illicit tobacco down the chute to the counter.
During another recent project between several local authorities, Scamp helped trading standards seize nearly 430,000 cigarettes and 189kg of hand-rolling tobacco, with a total street value of approximately £137,000.
Described as a ‘modern-day Eliot Ness,’ Scamp’s work with trading standards caused such disruption to one organised criminal gang that he had a £25,000 bounty placed on his head.
CTSI chief executive Leon Livermore said: “CTSI received a landslide of nominations for the outstanding work Scamp and B.W.Y Canine has done with trading standards services up and down the country.
“To keep providing such a service in the face of great personal risk is admirable, and his handler Stuart Phillips from B.W.Y Canine, and of course Scamp, deserve our thanks.”
Handler Stuart Phillips added: “The work that Scamp does is of huge importance to tackle the illegal tobacco trade and we both thoroughly enjoy working with trading standards around the UK.
“Scamp is a special dog, with an amazing nose and great work ethic - for him to have his work recognised is superb, he is a true hero.”