A SHOPOWNER has been prosecuted for selling illegal cigarettes at a shop in Leamington.
Trading Standards officers were tipped off that tobacco and cigarettes were being sold illegally at Canal Mini Market on Clemens Street.
An undercover officer bought a packet of cigarettes for £4 and the following day returned with fellow officers and sniffer dogs who uncovered nearly 90 packets of cigarettes and 30 of rolling tobacco.
None of the tobacco or cigarettes were in standard packaging and most did not carry health warnings.
At Nuneaton Justice Centre on Tuesday June 5 owner Kawa Rashid Sulaiman, age 32 of Foleshill Road in Coventry, pleaded guilty to 20 offences.
He was fined £210, ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,640 and a £30 victim surcharge.
Warwickshire County Council spokesman for community safety, Coun Howard Roberts said: “Smoking is still the biggest preventable cause of death in England, accounting for more than 80,000 premature deaths each year and around 700 per year in Warwickshire.
“The sale of cheap illegal tobacco and cigarettes undermines the work everyone is doing to reduce the numbers of people smoking and improve the health of Warwickshire residents.
“I’m delighted trading standards is carrying out this important to work to support our public health goals.”
The shopowner’s solicitor said Mr Sulaiman had ‘foolishly’ agreed to sell tobacco, had not made a big profit from doing so and pleaded guilty to the offences at the earliest opportunity.
He also said following the raid his client had closed his shop and was no longer working in retail.
The seized tobacco will be destroyed.
Anyone with information about the manufacture or sale of illegal tobacco can call 0300 303 2636 to speak to the confidential fakes hotline.