Pippa (pictured) will be in action next week at roadshows in Camberley, Guildford, Staines and Epsom.
The events are being staged by trading standards officers and health advisers to raise awareness of the damaging impact of illicit tobacco and the ease with which young people can become hooked on products sold at “pocket money” prices.
Members of the public will be encouraged to help stub out the trade by reporting shopkeepers and dealers who sell illicit tobacco.
Illegal cigarettes may contain rogue ingredients and rarely carry health warnings. They have no tax duty paid on them, cheating the public purse of money for essential services such as adult social care, and are often linked to organised crime.
And while legal cigarettes have a safety feature which means they extinguish if left unattended, illegal ones do not, making them potentially lethal. Pippa, who is supplied by Wagtail UK, is among dogs who work with trading standards officers when they search premises for illegal tobacco.
Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services, said: “The trade in illicit tobacco is damaging to health and damaging to communities, getting children hooked at pocket money prices, which is why we’re hoping as many people as possible come along to these roadshows and help us tackle the problem.”
The roadshows are from 10am to 4pm – and from 11am to 4pm in Guildford. They’ll take place at:
*Park Street, Camberley (opposite Wildwood and The Bear public house) – Monday 11 June
*High Street, Guildford (outside WHSmith and Monsoon) – Tuesday 12 June
*Staines Market, High Street – Wednesday 13 June
*Epsom Market, Market Place – Thursday 14 June
Advisers from the county council’s stop smoking service Quit 51 will also be on hand. More information on the service can be found here.
Anyone with information on illegal tobacco can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, Surrey trading standards on 0300 123 2329 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.