Shop trader’s telling diary reveals crimes

Preston Magistrates Court
Preston Magistrates Court
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A shopkeeper’s diary revealed he made £1,500 in a week from selling illicit cigarettes and tobacco, a court heard.

Qadeer Akhter, 30, of Nevett Street, Callon, Preston, was fined £470 and ordered to pay £130 costs by Preston Magistrates Court after admitting he supplied counterfeit tobacco, products that did not comply with labelling regulations, and fake Dr Dre Beats headphones at his shop, Megasaver, on Fishergate Hill, Preston.

In a hearing at Preston Magistrates Court, Lancashire Trading Standards prosecutor Nick McNamara said: “Some of the products were found in a coat behind the counter and others were found in a car outside.”

“His pockets were visibly bulging, and when he was asked to turn them out further packs were discovered.

“Some were specifically manufactured for the black market.”

He added investigators, who visited on October 16 last year, found a diary they believed was a daily record of illicit tobacco sold which revealed in the week before their visit 283 packets had been sold - a turnover of around £1,500.

Akhter, a father-of-one who came to the UK six years ago, was previously cautioned over selling illegal tobacco.

The Evening Post can reveal the shop sold illicit cigarettes to an undercover reporter in December 2012, and readers tried to name and shame the shop during the Don’t Let Them Make a Packet campaign.

It is estimated around 80 Lancashire residents die each year in the UK from smuggled, illicit and counterfeit cigarettes.

Defending, Steve Scott said Akhter turned to illicit tobacco because he was struggling, due to other traders selling it.