A trader notorious for peddling illicit tobacco has been back in court after he was caught with illegal cigarettes hidden around his shop.
Qadeer Akhter, 34 who runs the Megasaver store on Fishergate Hill in Preston, pleaded guilty to four offences and received six weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months at Preston Magistrates’ Court.
The 34-year-old, of Nevett Street, Callon, was cautioned in June 2013 over counterfeit tobacco and supplied an undercover Post reporter during a campaign to raise awareness of the issue.
Undeterred, in April 2014 Akhter admitted similar offences over a seizure made by Trading Standards four months after his caution.
Despite a £450 fine, three months later he was caught in a further sting which resulted in him getting 60 hours unpaid work in January 2015.
Just five months later further tobacco was seized at the store and he pleaded guilty to an offence in January 2016, when magistrates imposed 200 hours of unpaid work.
Prosecuting for Lancashire Trading Standards, Claire Box said: “Officers found packets of tobacco, concealed in a number of places throughout the store – some packets being incorrectly labelled and others suspected of being counterfeit. Some of them were found in empty sweet boxes which were stacked underneath boxes of open sweets.”
In interview Akhter admitted he had been charging £3 for a packet of cigarettes.
He must pay a £115 surcharge and £534 costs.