Selling illegal cigarettes that carry a serious fire hazard has cost a Worksop shopkeeper his premises licence and more than £1,500 in court costs.
Omed Latif was also sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work by magistrates after Trading Standards swooped on his shop, Biedronka Max, and seized 450 packs of illicit tobacco.
The dangerous cigarettes, seized over the course of four raids on the Carlton Road store, were found not to comply with British Safety Standards and posed a serious risk of fire if lit and left unattended.
The actions of Mr Latif, who later pleaded guilty to possession and distribution of unsafe cigarettes, caused Trading Standards to apply to Bassetlaw Distict Council l to revoke his Premises Licence- meaning he will longer be permitted to sell alcohol.
Councillor Josie Potts, chair of licensing committee at Bassetlaw District Council, said:“Thanks to partnership work between Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team, the police and the District Council we have prevented the sale of illicit tobacco from being sold to unsuspecting customers.
“The message from us is that if you sell illegal tobacco, you will be caugh and you may be prosecuted and could lose your premises licence.
“We all know the dangers of smoking, but using illegal tobacco poses much more of a serious threat to your health because you simply do not know what has gone into it.
“We would recommend that should you find somewhere selling illegal tobacco, please report it to Trading Standards, the police or the council.”
Mr Latif had been warned on a number of occasions by Trading Standards officers that his actions could result in a criminal prosecution and the loss of the premises Licence to sell alcohol at his store.
Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, committee chairman for Community Safet at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “This is an excellent example of multi-agency work where we are protecting the public.
“This is a relatively new venture for us to pursue the possibility of asking a district or borough council to review the alcohol licence of a shop in relation to illicit tobacco.
“Genuine cigarettes have a safety feature which means they extinguish if they are left unattended- many counterfeit cigarettes often do not have this feature. Nationally, the cost of smoking related house fires is estimated at £507 million per year.
“This action sends out another reminder out that we will do all we can to protect our local communities from this sort of crime,” he added.