A POOCH with a nose for crime-busting helped sniff out a £40,000 haul of illicit tobacco and DVDs.

The illegal goods were found in Motherwell and Bellshill thanks to the skills of Dixie the sniffer dog.

North Lanarkshire Council's Trading Standards Team used Dixie to sniff out the goods worth an estimated £40,000.

The operation was aided by intelligence gathered by Trading Standards over recent months and resulted in officers from the council and Police Scotland targeting three premises, where they found illegal cigarettes and pirate DVDs.

Dixie works with Stirling Council and is trained to search for tobacco.

She was brought in by North Lanarkshire Council to help with the operation, as officers knew the illegal goods would be hidden.

Councillor Helen McKenna said: "This operation was a great success for our Trading Standards Team, and sends a strong message to the people who trade in illegal goods that we will take direct action to stop them.

"Dealers often target children to sell the counterfeit tobacco to, encouraging them to take up smoking at an early age, and the trade has strong links to organised crime so anyone buying it is funding other illegal activities like drugs, alcohol smuggling and money laundering.

"Thanks to the actions of the council, Police Scotland and Dixie and her handler, this haul of illegal products has been seized and taken off the streets of North Lanarkshire. We will now undertake further investigations that may lead to prosecution for those involved."