Illegal cigarettes were hidden in shop

 

A raid on a Liverpool shop found illicit cigarettes and tobacco concealed in a junction box and hidden compartment.

Liverpool Magistrates Court heard that officers from the City Council’s Alcohol and Tobacco Unit visited the Perfect Food Stores in West Derby Road, Tuebrook, in April, accompanied by a tobacco sniffer dog.

Thy found  a total of 476 packets of cigarettes and 119 pouches of tobacco in a disused BT junction box at the back of the shop and in a hidden compartment under the counter.

All the cigarettes and tobacco had been imported in the UK without any duty being paid. None had the correct English health warnings on them, with the cigarette packets having warnings in Polish or Russian and the tobacco having Spanish, Dutch and French health warnings.

The shop’s owner, Wasim Ali, aged 38, of West Derby Road, admitted one offence under the Consumer Protection Act.

He was fined £300, ordered to pay a £30 victim surcharge and £300 in costs.

He said, in mitigation, that has was unaware that the cigarettes were in his shop and being offered for sale and that he was not often in the shop due to health issues.

Councillor Steve Munby, cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “We will take the strongest action against shops which sell illicit tobacco. The sale of cheap cigarettes because tax has been avoided, encourages smoking with serious consequences on health.”