A Preston newsagent has been fined for selling illegal tobacco.Advertisement
Vohra Stores in South Meadow Lane, Broadgate, was found to be selling packs of incorrectly labelled cigarattes and tobacco during an inspection.
Preston Magistrates Court fined the sole director of the shop, Sohel Vohra, £1,500 and ordered him to pay court costs and a victims surcharge. This brought Vohra’s total to £3,800 during the hearing on Wednesday 13 January.
The store was inspected in July last year where officers found two pouches of contraband Golden Virginia tobacco, hidden in a microwave oven behind the counter.
Elsewhere, a sleeve containing ten unopened packs of Superkings cigrattes was found in an ATM-style cash machine.
One of the tobacco pouches was labelled in German while the other pouch and the cigarettes all bore warnings which had been out of date since 2010.
The Company and Sohel Vohra were both convicted after pleading not guilty to offences under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
During the hearing Vohra told the court that the two pouches of tobacco were for his own use and were not intended for sale. He said that the sleeve of Superkings had been bought for him by a friend but, after deciding he didn’t like them, he had put them in the cash machine and then forgotten about them.
County Councillor Azhar Ali, cabinet member for health and wellbeing, said: “Improperly labelled tobacco products, be they smuggled or out of date, deny consumers vital warnings about the dangers of smoking.
“The trade in these kinds of products harms law-abiding retailers and our economy in terms of unpaid duty and VAT. Trading Standards and the courts are determined to show that under-the-counter tobacco sales will not be tolerated in Lancashire shops.”