A HAUL of tens of thousands of illegal cigarettes and more than a dozen kilos of illicit tobacco have been discovered thanks to the super sniffing skills of Bury's top canine detective.

Worth more than £25,000, the 36,400 cigarettes and 12.85kg of tobacco were seized by Bury Council trading standards and licensing officers and police on Wednesday.

The stashes, concealed at two premises, were sniffed out by springer spaniel Pippa.

They included tobacco which was counterfeit and on which duty had not been paid ­— both of which are illegal to sell in the UK.

Councillor Jane Black, cabinet member for corporate affairs and HR, said: “Those who deal in cheap illegal tobacco are encouraging people to continue to smoke, and unscrupulous traders often target young people.

"The detection dogs can find tobacco and cigarettes, even if hidden in the most unlikely places.

"Offenders need to know that they will face consequences if they choose to deal in these illegal products.”

Visits to the offending premises were carried out as part of the Greater Manchester Keep It Out campaign.

The campaign aims to educate residents and businesses about illegal tobacco, its dangers and how to report it; and is spearheaded by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership .

On Wednesday, council officers also set up a stall in Bury Market to highlight issues surrounding illicit tobacco to shoppers.

Angela Lomax, head of trading standards and licensing at Bury Council, said: “Along with our colleagues in Greater Manchester Police and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, we have been working to reduce the supply of, and demand for, cheap illegal tobacco.

“Greater Manchester is leading the way in tobacco control in the UK, by aiming to reduce smoking at a pace and scale greater than any other major global city.”

If you know where illegal tobacco is being sold you can report it by calling Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555 111, or at keep-it-out.co.uk/anonymous-reporting/.