A shop which stashed illegal tobacco in crisp boxes and sold it to customers has been stripped bare of its gantry by a tobacco firm.
Crown Retail, which runs Crown Convenience Store on Lancaster Road North, Preston, was prosecuted by Lancashire Trading Standards in March.
JTI has had to do this as we continue to see some independent retailers get sucked into this illegal trade, giving honest hard-working retailers a bad name
Director Dilavar Patel, 52, of Fulwood Hall Lane, admitted four offences and was ordered to pay a £590 fine, while the firm, which admitted 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.
Charlie Cunningham-Reid, of Japan Tobacco international said: “JTI has had to do this as we continue to see some independent retailers get sucked into this illegal trade, giving honest hard-working retailers a bad name.
“If this type of crime continues, customers who buy tobacco products will lose faith and trust in their local shops as the perception grows that the independent trade is rife with ‘dodgy cigarettes’.”