Gang Puts Bounty on Sniffer Dog's Head After 'Scamp' Locates Millions of Dollars' Worth of Illegal Tobacco

Sniffer Dog, Police Dog, Tobacco, Smuggling, Drugs, Guns
Sniffer dog Scamp is pictured investigating a metal container. Ash Wales

British criminals have put a £25,000 ($28,400) hit out on a precocious pooch that's found some £6 million ($7.8 million) of smuggled tobacco in five years.

Scamp's owner, Stuart Phillips, told anti-smoking charity Ash Wales, the springer spaniel is wanted by a criminal gang because of his superior snout.

Phillips runs B.W.Y Canine in Pembrokeshire, Wales. His company trains elite "K9" sniffer dogs to root out everything from drugs to human bodies.

"We had to stop working in one part of the country last year, because there was a £25,000 bounty put on his head," Phillips said in a statement. "It was believed to be linked to an organized crime group and the relevant authorities were informed."

He added he has experienced death threats and vandalism to his vehicle.

Illegal cigarettes smuggled by criminal gangs are sold cheaply in shops, in makeshift home stores and online, making them readily available to children, Phillips said.

"The public are not fully aware of what illegal tobacco is linked to," he added. "They are not just buying cheap cigarettes and cheap hand rolling tobacco. It has knock on effects with other criminality. Illegal tobacco is linked to drugs, to firearms, it's linked to people trafficking and child sexual exploitation."

According to Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs, illicit tobacco costs the public purse some £2.5 billion a year in lost excise duty.

The BBC recently reported that criminals shift large volumes of illegal tobacco in Wales because of a "lack of investment in enforcement." Authorities confiscated around 150,000 illegal tobacco products in 2013.

In August, authorities saved the life of a sniffer dog in Oregon who was exposed to heroin while searching a jail block. A deputy in the local sheriff's department administered naloxone—sold under the brand name Narcan—which stabilized the drug-detection dog.

In June a police dog from Madrid grabbed headlines around the world when police shared a video of him performing CPR on an officer. Footage shows Poncho jumping on the chest of a police officer after he "collapses" in an effort to show off the dog's impressive skills.

Madrid police praised the pooch on Twitter and shared a famous quote from American writer John Billings: "A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than you love yourself."