Selling illegal tobacco cost a Bognor Regis shop employee £2,000 in costs when he was sentenced by Worthing magistrates.
Maruf Sadek was found guilty of 12 charges of possessing foreign labelled and unsafe tobacco products.
He was caught following a visit to the Euro Express shop, Canada Grove, Bognor Regis, from West Sussex County Council Trading Standards officers and trained sniffer dog YoYo.
A total of 362 packets of cigarettes and 29 pouches of tobacco were found in his car by YoYo.
Richard Sargeant, Trading Standards team manager, said: “Illegal, counterfeit tobacco can be extremely dangerous as it does not self-extinguish, which can then lead to house fires.
“We are very grateful to the residents who provided us with valuable information about this shop, and are committed to continue tackling this illegal trade.”
Euro Express had been visited three times during investigations, which included a covert test purchase by a Trading Standards officer.
More than 400 illicit products were also found in the storeroom, hidden in the ceiling which had been fitted with an electronic, remote controlled gate.
The cigarettes and tobacco found on each visit were foreign labelled, counterfeit, and did not self-extinguish as per safety requirements.
David Barling, cabinet member with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: “We are fully committed to removing illicit tobacco from the marketplace.
“This illegal trade harms legitimate traders and can put people’s health at risk.
“Catching and prosecuting offenders like Mr Sadek sends out a clear message to others who try to sell illegal tobacco that you will be caught and prosecuted.”
If readers have any information about illegal tobacco sales please let Trading Standards know by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or by reporting details online at www.westsussex.gov.uk/TSreport.
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