A dealer in illegal and counterfeit cigarettes has been fined as part of an ongoing crackdown on the dangerous trade in Middlesbrough.
Trading Standards Officers from Middlesbrough Council visited Cut Price Electrics on Parliament Road after complaints that cigarettes and tobacco were being hidden in the flat above the premises.
It was alleged the goods were being passed down to the rear of the property and sold illegally to order.
In total 5,880 cigarettes and 1.3kg of hand rolling tobacco were seized during the operation in October 2017.
None of the cigarettes seized were found to have the required reduced ignition propensity strips, a safety feature designed to extinguish cigarettes left unattended or discarded.
Appearing before Teesside Magistrates last week (Tuesday, December 11) Karwan Karim Kadrinijad admitted four trademark offences in relation to the sale of illicit tobacco.
The 29-year-old, of Park Lane, Middlesbrough, admitted knowing the cigarettes were illegitimate and that he did not know about legal safety requirements.
Kadrinijad was fined £150 and ordered to pay costs of £200 and a victim surcharge of £30.
An application for the forfeiture and destruction of the seized cigarettes and tobacco was also granted by the court.
Judith Hedgley, Middlesbrough Council’s Head of Public Protection, said: “Illicit tobacco and cigarette sellers are known to have links to organised crime groups whose sole aim is profit for their criminal empires.
“This need for profit often encourages the sale of cigarettes to children, which clearly flouts laws designed to protect them.
“The illicit sale of unregulated cigarettes and tobacco exposes children, and others, to even more potentially dangerous toxins and fire hazards.”
Councillor Julia Rostron, the Council’s Executive member for Adult Social Care and Public Health, added: “Our Public Protection Team will continue to tackle the trade in illicit tobacco and cigarettes.
“Cases like this send a clear message that such sales will not be tolerated and that we will take any necessary action to stamp out this this criminality.”