SNIFFER dogs were in the city centre yesterday to mark National No Smoking Day and a Trading Standards crack down on illegal tobacco.

Four-month-old cocker spaniel Maggie was out in Bonn Square for an information event where officers hoped to educate people on how to spot illegal tobacco and its dangers.

Trading Standards were on hand from 10am to 3.30pm in a bid to cull the sales of illegal tobacco.

The team said illegal tobacco makes it easier for children to start smoking as it is sold at cheap prices, and it also makes communities more attractive to criminals, who may have links to organised crime groups.

Maggie is joined in the team by sniffer dogs Scamp, Phoebe and Yoyo, who are all ex-rescue dogs and have helped uncover millions of pounds worth of illegal cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco across the country.

In Oxfordshire, a stash of more than 10 kilos of tobacco and thousands of cigarettes were seized by government officials on Wednesday, March 7.

Nine shops across Banbury were part of a joint operation lead by HM Revenue and Customs officers, including Trading Standards, and goods seized from three of them.

The items, all believed to be illicit, included 4,700 cigarettes.