llegal cigarettes and tobacco packets were found hidden behind a mirror in a Dudley shop during a trading standards bust. The team from Dudley Council discovered 242 packets of cigarettes and tobacco when they raided Dudley Stores in October 2016, with help from police plus a tobacco dog and handler - and the majority of them were counterfeit.
Some were hidden in a void behind a mirror in a store room, while others were found in boxes and bags at the back of the store and on a counter behind the till. Sirdar Rashid, 42, the leaseholder of the High Street store, was found guilty of five offences involving the sale of illegal and counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco when he appeared at Wolverhampton Magistrates Court.
The offences included three relating to the possession of counterfeit brands, one offence of possessing 242 packets which did not contain the necessary health warnings and one offence relating to the possession of criminal property for which duty had not been paid. It was estimated that the duty evaded on the haul was approximately £1,500.
Rashid, now living in London, was sentenced to a 12 month community order, must undertake 60 hours unpaid work and pay £400 towards costs as well as a victim surcharge of £85. Dudley Council confirmed that the business closed down in 2017 after the landlord took action to repossess the premises due to the illegal activity.