Almost 7,000 illegal cigarettes found in 'sophisticated' hide in Boston shop, court is told

The secret compartment filled with cigarettes
The secret compartment filled with cigarettes

Almost 7,000 illegal cigarettes were discovered by trading standards officers at a Boston shop.

The cigarettes were discovered in a sophisticated hidden compartment during two inspections by police and trading standards officers.

Sardar Majid Aziz (35) of 41, Wing Drive, Fishtoft, pleaded guilty to supplying and possessing illicit cigarettes at Europe Express in Boston at a hearing at Lincoln Magistrates Court.

Officers from Lincolnshire Police, Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Immigration Enforcement carried out inspections at Europe Express in 2018.

A total of 6,700 illegal and illicit cigarettes were found during the two inspections, and a large number were found in a secret compartment in the wall.

Andy Wright, Principal Trading Standards Officer said: "We found these cigarettes in a really unique and sophisticated hide within the wall of the shop.

“It could be opened remotely and was self-closing. The construction of the hide showed us that significant effort was put into concealing these items."

The cigarettes were found to be counterfeit, had foreign health warnings and failed safety tests.

Mr Wright said: "Legitimate cigarettes are legally required to be self-extinguishing, and the ones we seized here didn’t have this feature.

“Fire Services report that there have been deaths in the county from fires started by illegal cigarettes because they continue to burn if unattended. It is extremely important that we take as many off the streets as possible.

"If you have any concerns about the sale of illicit cigarettes, call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111"

Mr Aziz was given a 12 month community order, with 200 hours of unpaid work, costs of £1,500.00 and a victim surcharge of £85.