Illegal cigarettes found in newsagent’s shop -three times

A newsagent was found to have illegal packets of cigarettes when his shop was searched on three separate occasions.

Liverpool magistrates heard that when officers from the city council’s Alcohol and Tobacco Unit visited Darin News in Holt Road in August, September and October last year they found more than 500 packets of illicit cigarettes and tobacco in total.

The packets had health warnings in Russian, Polish Czech, Romanian, French and Arabic. They did not have the proper UK health warnings on them.

Smaller amounts of counterfeit packets of cigarettes and counterfeit Royal Mail stamps were also found.

Some of the illegal cigarettes were discovered by a specially trained sniffer dog who indicated their presence in a compartment at the bottom of the shop counter.

Baihm Aziz., aged 27, Holt Road, admitted three offences under the Consumer Protection Act and two relating to having counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco.

He was sentenced to a Community Punishment Order comprising 200 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay £200 costs with a £60 victim surcharge. 

Mr. Aziz told the court that he was not always responsible for serving customers and was not at the store during one of the inspections.

Councillor Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “The fact that there were three inspections in consecutive months which all found illicit cigarettes in the shop show that he was a persistent offender.

“Illegal cigarettes are not only harmful to health but their sale also hurts legitimate traders and we will have no hesitation in prosecuting those who supply these goods.”