WANTAGE MP Ed Vaizey has pledged to help stop puppy smuggling.

The former culture minister was among 64 MPs and Peers who attended an event by the Dogs Trust in Parliament, which called on the Government to take urgent action to end puppy smuggling.

Mr Vaizey said: “Dogs Trust has unveiled a horrendous trade that has been growing over the past few years and we now have the opportunity to make a positive change to stop this practice.

"I’ve been shocked by the findings of all four of the reports and am proud to support the case to bring an end to puppy smuggling with the introduction of tighter controls and the need for much stronger penalties to deter this horrific crime.”

Dogs Trust say their fourth report on the issue highlights corrupt vets falsifying documents, pregnant dogs smuggling into the UK and 'lax' border controls.

Dogs Trust Veterinary Director Paula Boyden added: “The findings of our fourth report have revealed undeniable evidence that illegal importers remain undeterred. We believe this has only scratched the surface of the full extent of the problem.

"The lack of visual checks at ports and paltry penalties for those caught smuggling puppies are simply no deterrent and highlight an urgent need for our pet travel legislation to be redrawn.”

The event and had a virtual reality experience of the conditions in which puppies can be transported across Central and Eastern Europe to the UK.

Mr Vaizey's pup Pepper recently missed out on winning Westminster Dog of the Year.