A shop owner has been prosecuted by Lincolnshire Trading Standards after 6,700 illegal cigarettes were found during inspections.

Last Monday (30 September) at Lincoln Magistrates Court, Sardar Majid Aziz (35) of 41, Wing Drive, Fishtoft, pleaded guilty to supplying and possessing illicit cigarettes at Europe Express in Boston.

Officers from Lincolnshire Police, Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Immigration Enforcement carried out inspections at Europe Express in 2018.

6,700 illegal and illicit cigarettes were found during the two inspections, and a large number were found in a secret compartment in the wall.

Andy Wright, Principal Trading Standards Officer said: “We found these cigarettes in a really unique and sophisticated hide within the wall of the shop. It could be opened remotely and was self-closing. The construction of the hide showed us that significant effort was put into concealing these items.”

The cigarettes were found to be counterfeit, had foreign health warnings and failed safety tests.

Andy added: “Legitimate cigarettes are legally required to be self-extinguishing, and the ones we seized here didn’t have this feature. Fire Services report that there have been deaths in the county from fires started by illegal cigarettes because they continue to burn if unattended. It is extremely important that we take as many off the streets as possible.

“If you have any concerns about the sale of illicit cigarettes, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111”

Mr Aziz was sentenced to a 12 month community order, with 200 hours of unpaid work, contribution towards costs of £1,500.00 and a victim surcharge of £85.

For more information about the work Lincolnshire Trading Standards does, visit www.lincolnshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards