A shop owner in Brent, north-west London, has been fined more than £6,000 for selling illegal cigarettes.
A specially trained sniffer dog uncovered cigarettes that fell below legal standards during an operation led by Brent and Harrow Trading Standards in July 2021.
Officers had been tipped off that Bacovia Ltd, on Neasden Lane, was selling Romanian-labelled tobacco products. During the raid they found 700 cigarette packets, containing 14,000 cigarettes, that were not in standard packaging and were missing the necessary health warnings to warn consumers of the dangers of smoking required by law.
The shop owner, Mihai Lupes, 58, had previously been prosecuted twice for similar offences and once for selling alcohol to an underaged customer.
Lupes pleaded guilty to possessing the illegal tobacco products on 23 June 2022 at Willesden Magistrates Court and was fined a total of £6,096.
The Magistrates said, “This is the third similar offence and you learnt no lessons. You keep committing the same offence.”
Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities and Public Protection, said:
“Selling illegal tobacco puts people’s lives at risk and can do real damage. I hope this case sets an important example that we will go after heedless law-breakers to protect the public’s health and get illegal tobacco products off the streets.
The operation was part of Operation CeCe, a National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HRMC to disrupt the illegal tobacco trade at all levels.