A Worthing shopkeeper has been convicted of selling illegal tobacco and cigarettes, according to West Sussex County Council.
Hemen Anwri, of no fixed address, pleaded guilty to five charges at Worthing Magistrates Court on Friday December 11, a county council spokesman said.
He was fined £3,300 after West Sussex Trading Standards officers seized 119 packets of foreign labelled cigarettes and tobacco from his store All Sorts in Montague Street.
After receiving an anonymous complaint that the products were being sold from behind the genuine cigarettes, Trading Standards officers visited the shop in April 2015.
With help from a sniffer dog and dog handler, 119 packets were found concealed behind the legal cigarettes, accessed by a sliding door.
The cigarettes and tobacco were foreign labelled and did not display the required labelling according to the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
Some of the cigarettes were tested and found to be unsafe as they did not self-extinguish, which is also an offence under the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.
Richard Sargeant, team manager for Trading Standards, said: “Cheap, illicit tobacco can be attractive to those on low incomes, including young people, who are amongst the priority groups we are particularly keen to support to not start, or to give up smoking.
“Unsafe cigarettes that do not self-extinguish are dangerous and have in the past led to house fires.”
As well as the £3,300 fine, Anwri must also pay a victim surcharge of £100, criminal courts charge of £180 and costs of £1,070, the WSCC spokesman added.
The forfeiture and destruction of the seized goods was also ordered.
David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for residents’ services with responsibility for Trading Standards, added: “We continue to do everything in our power to ensure illegal cigarettes are removed from the marketplace across West Sussex and will punish those who find ways for these illicit and dangerous products to be sold and consumed.”
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