A shopkeeper who was caught out in a Trading Standards sting on illicit tobacco sales has been returned to court after he continued selling fake cigarettes at another shop he ran.
Mohammed Ali Anwar, 34, was handed a community order with unpaid work after the imported products were found stashed on high shelves at his shop, Day to Day Bargains, to avoid detection by sniffer dogs.
But following the raid at the shop on Central Drive, Blackpool, Anwar continued to sell packets of Mayfair cigarettes and pouches of Old Amber tobacco – which did not carry the correct health warnings or labeling – from a second shop he ran in Dickson Road.
He was arrested and charged with further offences of trading in counterfeit goods.
His shop assistant Elwira Gawecka, 29, of Handsworth Road, North Shore, who had worked at International Delicatessen for just three weeks, was also charged.
Both defendants pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit goods after Trading Standards officers visited the shop on January 8 and uncovered the second haul.
Preston Crown Court heard Anwar, of Manchester Road, Nelson, started selling the bogus goods when the shops he was running fell into financial difficulties.
He has since closed down the two businesses and returned to his former business as a milkman.
Recorder Sally Hatfield, sentencing, said: “You have a very good work history and you were trying to run a business which sadly failed.
“You have not been before the courts before.
“Unfortunately in December last year you committed the same offence.
“Both offences were committed when your business was failing and you succumbed to the temptation to buy cheap counterfeit cigarettes.
“You had the cigarettes seized at the first shop some weeks before but you carried on selling them.
“You should have withdrawn them from sale and offered them up to the Trading Standards officers.”
She handed each defendant a community order with 75 hours’ unpaid work for Anwar and 60 hours’ for Gawecka.