NEWS
23/01/2019 11:03 GMT | Updated 23/01/2019 11:20 GMT

Sniffer Dog Has £25,000 Bounty Put On His Head After £6m Illegal Tobacco Find

Scamp's nose led to prosecutions across the country.

Ash Wales
Scamp the sniffer dog has had a bounty placed on his head.

A sniffer dog has had a £25,000 bounty put on his head by criminals after uncovering £6m of tobacco, his owner has claimed.

Scamp, a springer spaniel, found the illegal stash over the course of a year, frustrating smugglers who wanted to break into the black market.

His powerful nose led to prosecutions across the country in Sussex, Newcastle, Northampton and Great Yarmouth. 

Owner Stuart Phillips, who runs specialist dog search service B.W.Y Canine in Pembrokeshire, said: “We had to stop working in one part of the country last year, because there was a £25,000 bounty put on his head.

“It was believed to be linked to an organised crime group and the relevant authorities were informed.”

Phillips himself has become unpopular with criminals and faced threats because of Scamp’s work.

He said: “I’ve also had death threats, my windscreen has been smashed and my tyres slashed.

“It’s understandable really, when you’re upsetting some really nasty people.”

His company, which trains detection dogs to sniff out tobacco, firearms, drugs, meat and even human remains, works with more than 100 local authorities.

Phillips said tobacco smuggling, which is Scamp’s speciality, is a big problem in Wales, adding that illegal cigarettes can be sold at pocket money prices and are available to children.

“It is a massive problem in terms of the volume available and the fact that it’s so readily available in shops. It’s available on social media, through Facebook, and in Wales we have what are generally called fag houses, people selling from their houses,” he said.

A survey carried out by Action on Smoking and Health Wales (ASH) in 2014 found that up to 15% of all tobacco sold in Wales is illegal, the highest in the UK.