First Lancashire shopkeeper to be jailed over illicit tobacco sales

Stash of counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco uncovered at Pound Plus, Preston
Stash of counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco uncovered at Pound Plus, Preston
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A trader who continued to peddle fake cigarettes from his shop despite a previous prosecution is believed to be the first in Lancashire to be jailed over the illicit tobacco trade.

Idris Patel, 43, of Lex Street, Preston, was subject to a suspended sentence for similar crimes when he was caught with the stash at Pound Plus on New Hall Lane.

He is beginning a 112 day jail term after Preston magistrates activated a previous term alongside his new jail sentence.

He admitted 11 offences under the Trademarks Act and Consumer Protection Act.

Prosecuting for Lancashire Trading Standards, Claire Box said investigators saw him moving a drawstring bag and kicking a box along the floor during an inspection of his shop.

He was caught with incorrectly labelled products in TWO further checks.

She added: “191 packets were seized in total that did not comply with UK requirements on health warnings. Of these, 36 were found to be unauthorised copies of genuine brands.

“In the case of counterfeit tobacco, there is a further risk in that unlike their genuine counterparts, there are no controls over what goes into them or the levels of harmful substances they contain.

"These types of products have also been found not to comply with requirements to self-extinguish if left unattended and have been linked to at least one house-fire fatality in Lancashire.”