The owner of a Gainsborough shop has been successfully prosecuted for selling illegal cigarettes, following raids by Lincolnshire Trading Standards.
Back in September 2013, Trading Standards received a complaint that Alina’s in Trinity Street, Gainsborough was selling illegal tobacco .
And after searching the shop they seized a total of 1,800 cigarettes and 15 packets of tobacco with foreign labels.
Some of the packets were bearing the trademarks of Golden Virginia, Amber Leaf, but examinations later confirmed that they were counterfeit.
Amongst the confiscated items were 32 packets of Jin Ling cigarettes, which don’t self-extinguish and were the cause of a tragic fire in Spalding.
A sample of the illicit items were sent away for testing and failed to meet the European Standard, EN 16156.
Angela Kane, Senior Trading Standards Officer, said: “We found the foreign labeled cigarettes behind the shop counter and some were also hidden inside a chair.”
“The items are illegal in this country as they haven’t had any tax paid on them and they don’t display any health warnings.”
“We were particularly concerned when we came across over 600 Jin Ling cigarettes, which are really dangerous as they don’t go out when not actively being smoked, and can start devastating fires very quickly.”
“We had a resident who tragically lost her mum in a fire caused by one of these cigarettes back in 2012.”
“As we predicted, the cigarettes mimicking genuine brands were counterfeit, which means they were completely unregulated and could contain all sorts of nasty substances.”
“They may seem cheap but if they contain mould, dirt, insects, or even rodent droppings, that may be a price you’re not willing to pay.”
“At the time Mr Rasol was trying to obtain an alcohol licence, but with the support of Lincolnshire Police we put a case to West Lindsey District Council to reject this, which they did.”
“We believe this prosecution is a good result for the many businesses that do trade within the law and for local people that might not know the true cost of illegal cigarettes.”
Jheresh Meoqail Rasol, 27, of Allenby Close, Lincoln, appeared at Lincoln Magistrates Court on Friday 30th January and pleaded not guilty to 11 charges.
He was found guilty and sentenced to 180 hours of community service and ordered to pay legal costs of £500.
If you have spotted or believe a trader in Lincolnshire is supplying illegal, fake or duty free cigarettes, please contact Trading Standards through Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.