In a first for Dumfries and Galloway Council, Dixie the Springer Spaniel has been assisting trading standards officials find banned products in business premises in the town.
And she was also used for checks by the police and customs at the Cairnryan Ports this week.
Councillor Colin Smyth welcomed the canine patrol and said: “Far from being a victimless crime, cheap tobacco makes it easier for children to start smoking, takes advantage of cash-strapped families, and helps fund organised crime.
“It is also often the case that people selling cheap, illegal tobacco are likely to be selling other things illegally exposing our children to more dangers, so the work Dixie is carrying out not only helps ‘sniff out’ illegal tobacco but could also potentially assists with tackling other crimes.”
He added: “Our council will continue to target our resources to detect and prevent the sale of illegal and sometimes dangerous tobacco to ensure people in our communities remain safe and our young people are not exposed to dangerous products.
“This type of operation forms a crucial part of a widespread, coordinated effort to stamp out illegal tobacco trade across the globe.”
People caught with illegal tobacco face a mixture of enforcement action up to and including formal warnings and reports to the Procurator Fiscal.
Anyone who suspects cigarettes or tobacco is being illegally produced, smuggled or sold should call Dumfries and Galloway Council’s Trading Standards service on 030 33 33 3000.