A shopkeeper has been given an 18 month community order after Trading Standards caught him selling dangerous cigarettes hidden at his store.
Goran Jalal, of no fixed address, was sentenced at Worthing Magistrates’ Court last Monday, according to West Sussex Trading Standards.
He hid illegal foreign labelled cigarettes and tobacco in cavity walls when he owned the All Sorts convenience store in Montague Street.
Lab tests found the cigarettes were unsafe and do not self-extinguish like legal ones.
Sniffer dogs found the cigarettes and tobacco behind the till and in the wall of the stockroom at the store in November 2016.
It followed two test purchases successfully carried out by undercover West Sussex Trading Standards officers earlier in the year.
Trading Standards had previously sent a written warning to Jalal in August 2016 after seizing illegal tobacco from the same premises in May.
Officers recovered 41 pouches of foreign tobacco and 45 packets of 20 cigarettes.
Jalal pleaded guilty and was sentenced to an 18 month community order with 15 rehabilitation days, 80 hours community service and £511 costs.
West Sussex Trading Standards Manager Richard Sargeant said: “Cheap, illicit tobacco can be attractive for people on low incomes.
“But the price of this could be fatal.
“These illegal cigarettes do not self-extinguish, are dangerous, and have led to house fires in the past.
He added: “Our message to anyone out there who is engaged in the illegal tobacco trade is to be warned – we will prosecute you.”
If you have any information about illegal tobacco sales please let Trading Standards know by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or by reporting details online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/TSreport.