Worthing shopkeeper sentenced for selling ‘extremely unsafe’ sham cigarettes

This sniffer dog helped find 66 packets of foreign labelled cigarettes concealed in the store floor

This sniffer dog helped find 66 packets of foreign labelled cigarettes concealed in the store floor

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A Worthing trader has been sentenced for selling illegal tobacco after undercover officers purchased a packet of foreign labelled cigarettes from a convenience store, a spokesperson from West Sussex County Council has confirmed.

Mr Siavash Rostamy was given four months imprisonment suspended for two years, 100 hours of unpaid work and was ordered to pay £1,200 within three months at Lewes Crown Court on Friday, November 4, according to the spokesperson.

Cigarettes stored under the shop floor

Cigarettes stored under the shop floor

Undercover officers from West Sussex Trading Standards covertly purchased a packet of foreign labelled cigarettes from Worthing Convenience on Chapel Road, Worthing, in September 2015 following an anonymous tip off, the spokesperson said.

The officers returned to the shop later during the day with a sniffer dog to find 66 packets of foreign labelled cigarettes and tobacco concealed in the store floor, the spokesperson added.

Trading Standards officers made follow-up visits to the store in January and February 2016 and seized further illicit tobacco products, confirmed the spokesperson.

David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s Cabinet Member for Residents’ Services, said: “Our work in protecting West Sussex residents from unscrupulous traders never stops.

Cigarettes stored under the shop floor

Cigarettes stored under the shop floor

“This illicit tobacco not only harms consumers, but also legitimate businesses who comply with the law.

“Our Trading Standards team has once again done an excellent job in stopping these criminals.”

In total, more than 90 illegal products were seized from the store, he added.

The previous owner of the premises was successfully prosecuted in September 2015 for the possession of foreign labelled and unsafe tobacco products, according to the council spokesperson.

Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards Team Manager, said: “We have tested a sample of the illegal cigarettes seized from Worthing Convenience and they were found to be extremely unsafe.

“Illicit, counterfeit tobacco can be extremely dangerous as it does not self-extinguish, which can lead to house fires.”

Anyone with information about illicit tobacco can contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline anonymously on 03454 04 05 06 or can {report details online|https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/business-and-consumers/trading-standards-information-for-consumers/report-an-incident-or-issue-to-trading-standards/| https://www.westsussex.gov.uk/business-and-consumers/trading-standards-information-for-consumers/report-an-incident-or-issue-to-trading-standards/}

For help stopping smoking visit https://www.smokefreewestsussex.co.uk/

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