An elite sniffer dog is being targeted by gang bosses who have put a £25,000 bounty on his head for busting smugglers.
Springer spaniel Scamp is lying low after nailing a string of organised crime activities, including the sale of black market cigarettes.
He has sniffed out £6million in illegal tobacco products since 2014.
And criminals placed the bounty on him after court cases in Birmingham, Sussex, Newcastle, Northampton and Great Yarmouth.
Owner Stuart Phillips, 40, from wales, said Scamp poses a big threat to the criminals who smuggle in and sell the goods.
He 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.
“I’ve also had death threats, my windscreen has been smashed and my tyres slashed.”
Stuart added: “It’s understandable really, when you are upsetting some really nasty people.” Stuart, of BWY Canine Ltd, trains specialist detection dogs to sniff out tobacco, firearms, drugs, explosives, meat and even human remains.
He works with more than 100 local authorities across Britain, as well as a number
of international clients.
He said tobacco smuggling has given him a huge workload. Around one million illegal cigarettes a day were sold in Wales in 2014 alone.
He said: “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, with people selling from their houses.”
The cigarettes are sold at “pocket money prices” making them affordable for kids.
But the product is also linked to serious organised crime. An experienced dog like Scamp can find everything from a single cigarette to a pallet load.
He has also been trained to sniff out bank notes and has so far managed to uncover up to £60,000 in cash.
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