A Dudley shopkeeper has been fined after a raid caught him hiding fake tobacco and cigarettes, as well as avoiding excise duty.
Khosnaw Fayiqi, the 27-year-old owner of the Alena Mini Market on Dudley High Street, pleaded guilty to five offences at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court on 30th November.
Trading Standards officers inspected Fayiqi’s shop in October 2016 and discovered 63 packets of cigarettes and tobacco missing health warnings, as well as four brands found to be counterfeit.
Fayiqi had also evaded paying excise duty of more than £400.
The haul of illegal products was hidden inside compartments built into a chair and a jacket, and found thanks to the help of a tobacco detection dog.
At court, Fayiqi pleaded guilty to one offence under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations, four offences under the Trade Marks Act, and one offence under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
He was fined £500, and ordered to pay £500 costs and a victim surcharge of £30.
Cllr Peter Miller, Dudley Council’s cabinet member responsible for health and wellbeing, said: “Selling illegal tobacco is a crime and offenders need to know that they will face consequences if they choose to deal in illegal products.
“While all smoking is harmful, illegal tobacco is sold at low prices and without the necessary health warnings which makes it easier for children and young smokers to get hooked on smoking.
“Cheap cigarettes also make it harder for people to quit and remain smoke-free. It also deprives legitimate businesses of revenue and robs the taxpayer of money that could be spent on schools and hospitals.”