A convenience store has been fined after more than 500 illegal tobacco products were found stashed in crisp boxes.
Crown Retail Limited , which owns the Crown Convenience Store on Lancaster Road North in Preston, and one of its directors, Dilavar Patel, appeared before Preston Magistrates’ Court.
All 525 packs were seized as they were not labelled in accordance with the regulations.
Lancashire Trading Standards launched an inspection of shops in Preston in September 2014 to detect if illicit tobacco products were being supplied, the bench heard.
A large quantity of cigarettes and tobacco were found in a room to the rear of the shop.
Prosecuting, Claire Box said: “37 pouches of Golden Virginia and 26 pouches of Amber Leaf tobacco were found in black bin bags and 380 packets of Mayfair and 82 packets of Goal cigarettes were found in crisp boxes.
“All 525 packs were seized as they were not labelled in accordance with the regulations.
“In addition, the Mayfair cigarettes, Amber Leaf and Golden Virginia tobacco were suspected to be counterfeit and were sent to their trademark representatives for examination. This was confirmed.”
Dilavar Patel, 52, of Fulwood Hall Lane, Fulwood, Preston, confirmed that he was responsible for buying the tobacco. He stated that he had bought them as they were “cheap” and “intended to give them to friends”.
He pleaded guilty to four offences and must pay a £590 fine and £59 surcharge.
Crown Retail, which also admitted four similar offences, must pay a £1,945 fine, £120 surcharge and £371.99 costs.
Illicit tobacco is typically sold at around half the price of genuine tobacco, undermining price related incentives to discourage smoking.