A pair of sniffer dogs discovered a stash of illegal cigarettes and tobacco which were hidden in a box of crisps in an Epsom shop.

The doggy duo guided trading standards officers to the illicit packs after they visited Simran Mini Supermarket, trading as Save & Smile, last summer.

Pippa found a haul of 180 cigarettes and two packs of rolling tobacco before Rico confirmed the find, which was concealed in a bin bag within a cardboard box.

The canine combo, from Wagtail UK, were accompanied by officers from Buckinghamshire and Surrey Trading Standards as the team cracked down on counterfeit tobacco across Surrey last July.

Pippa and Rico’s work led to the conviction of Otam Singh Nagpal, the director of Simran Mini Supermarket Ltd, trading as Save & Smile, in The Parade, Spa Drive.

Nagpal pleaded guilty to three charges against him and three identical counts against his company after being put on trial at Guildford Crown Court.

He was ordered to pay fines and costs of £2,160.

Denise Turner-Stewart, Surrey County Council’s cabinet member for community safety, fire and resilience, said: “Illegal tobacco and cigarettes can be harmful to health, are often linked to organised crime and pose a greater fire risk and we work hard to keep them off the streets.

“Those tempted to ply this damaging trade should be aware that our trading standards teams will be on their case, as will Pippa and Rico.”

The counts included two under the Tobacco and Related Productions Regulations because the products “failed to carry the correct health and safety warnings”.

A third count was under the Standardised Packaging Regulations because the packs “were not coloured drab green”.

In all, Nagpal was ordered to pay £100 for the three charges against him alongside a £30 victim surcharge.

His company was also forced to pay £500 for the same three counts, with a £50 victim surcharge, as he was told to pay court costs totalling £1,480.

The seized products will be destroyed to “prevent them ever reaching customers”.