Four stores in Preston have been summonsed to appear before magistrates over allegations they possessed or supplied illegal or incorrectly labelled tobacco to customers.
They are thought to be the first prosecutions to be brought against Preston traders regarding alleged counterfeit or wrongly labelled tobacco since the Evening Post launched a campaign 12 months ago to tackle the illicit tobacco trade, which urged communities to come forward with information about illegal sellers.
Lancashire Trading Standards officers carried out visits to the properties on occasions between May and September this year.
Imdad Ullah Rajput, 24, of Ribbleton Lane, Preston, is summonsed on an allegation of possessing counterfeit Golden Virginia tobacco in May and of selling a pouch of it in July at the Quick Shop on Ribbleton Lane.
Pound Plus Limited on New Hall Lane is accused of supplying RHD cigarettes which did not comply with warning requirements in July.
It is also accused of a similar offence involving Gold Classic cigarettes in August and a charge of selling 10 packets of “Benson and Hedges” cigarettes, eight packets of “Golden Virginia” tobacco, three packets of “Amber Leaf” tobacco and a packet of “Gold Classic” cigarettes, that did not comply with the warning requirements in September.
Arshad Raja, 26, of Langham Road, Blackburn, is summonsed on two alleged offences relating to the Star Sound and Vision shop on New Hall Lane.
It is alleged in July a pack of Al Fakher shisha tobacco, which did not comply with the warning requirements was sold, and that the shop sold and possessed 12 packs of Afzal shisha tobacco, a pack of unbranded mint flavoured shisha tobacco; and 11 packs of Mirage chewing tobacco, the following month that also did not comply with warning requirements.
Kashmir Watan Food Stores is accused of three counts of possessing and supplying chewing tobacco and snuff that did not comply with warning requirements at its store on Kent Street and in Burnley
The firm’s director, Mohammed Saleem, of Tanglewood, Fulwood, Preston, is also summonsed on three identical counts of possessing and supplying chewing tobacco and snuff that did not comply with warning requirements.
Representatives from each shop have been summonsed to Preston Magistrates Court on January 8.