A Burnley shop boss sold dangerous illicit cigarettes and kept a stash of the fire-risk smokes and fake tobacco ready for customers at his home, a court heard.
Zia Aslam (40) of Roundwood Avenue, who has a record for flouting trading laws, was given eight weeks in jail, suspended for two years, and ordered he pay £280 in costs and a victim surcharge.
He admitted two counts of supplying goods prohibited by safety regulations, each involving two packs of PECT cigarettes, last October and three allegations of possessing goods at Albert Street with a false trade mark for sale - 46 packs of Mayfair cigarettes, 13 pouches of Amber leaf tobacco, and 23 pouches of Golden Virginia tobacco. He also pleaded guilty to possessing for supply goods prohibited by safety regulations, at Albert Street - 82 packs of PECT.
Burnley magistrates were told how Aslam, who ran Top Shop on Thurston Street, sold and stored dangerous PECT cigarettes, which would pose a fire risk by not self-extinguishing when discarded. When trading standards officers raided a property on Albert Street nearby, they found dozens of packs of counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco pouches, as well as almost 100 packs of PECT cigarettes, ready to be supplied in the shop.
Aslam has been convicted three times in two years after Lancashire Trading Standards Service prosecutions. He claimed he sold the cigarettes and tobacco to keep up with demand for cheap products.
He was caught after test purchases by trading standards officers who suspected illegal goods were being stored somewhere else, with runners being used. They got warrants and seized the illicit haul from Albert Street. Nick Dearing (defending) said there had been a market for illicit tobacco. Many people were keen to get tobacco as cheap as they could.