A pair of sniffer dogs uncovered a stash of illegal cigarettes and tobacco hidden in a box of crisps in an Epsom shop.
The duo guided trading standards officers to the illicit packs after the team paid a visit to Simran Mini Supermarket, trading as Save & Smile, last summer.
Pippa alerted officers to the haul of 180 cigarettes and two packs of rolling tobacco while Rico confirmed the find, which was concealed in a bin bag in a cardboard box.
The dogs, from Wagtail UK, were accompanying officers from Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards on visits to Surrey retailers as part of a day of action against counterfeit tobacco last July.
The visit led to the conviction last month of Otam Singh Nagpal, the director of Simran Mini Supermarket Ltd, trading as Save & Smile, The Parade, Spa Drive, Epsom.
He was ordered to pay fines and costs of £2,160 after pleading guilty at Guildford Magistrates Court to three charges against him and three identical counts against his company.
These were two counts under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations because the products failed to carry the correct health and safety warnings and a third count under the Standardised Packaging Regulations because the packs weren’t coloured drab green.
Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Safety, Fire and Resilience, said: “Illegal tobacco and cigarettes can be harmful to health, are often linked to organised crime and pose a greater fire risk and we work hard to keep them off the streets. Those tempted to ply this damaging trade should be aware that our trading standards teams will be on their case, as will Pippa and Rico.”
Nagpal was ordered to pay £100 for the three charges against him personally with a victim surcharge of £30. His company was fined £500 for the same three counts with a victim surcharge of £50 and he was also ordered to pay £1,480 court costs.
The seized products will now be destroyed to prevent them ever reaching consumers.