UPDATE: Boston shop owner found guilty of selling dangerous cigarettes

Ozzie the 'tobacco detection dog' in action at Boston Food and Wine Centre
Ozzie the 'tobacco detection dog' in action at Boston Food and Wine Centre

A shop owner caught selling banned ‘dangerous’ cigarettes has been ordered to carry out unpaid work.

Shapoor Atiqi was sentenced at Boston Magistrates’ Court this afternoon for a string of offences related to selling ‘non self-extinguishing’ cigarettes (see below).

Jin Ling cigarettes seized in Boston

Jin Ling cigarettes seized in Boston

Atiqi was ordered to complete 270 hours of unpaid community work during the next 12 months. He will also be forced to pay Lincolnshire Trading Standards’ costs of £5,176.

A Boston shop owner has been found guilty of intentionally selling dangerous cigarettes in the first case of its type in the UK.

Shapoor Atiqi (46) of Boston Food and Wine Centre, 42-44 High Street, Boston, was found guilty of eight offences, including the sale of non self-extinguishing cigarettes at Boston Magistrates’ Court today.

He is due to be sentenced this afternoon, after probation reports are produced for the court. He admittted the charges.

Since November 2011, all cigarettes produced have to comply with the European Standards which require them to be self-extinguishing.

Emma Milligan, senior trading standards officer at Lincolnshire Trading Standards, which brought the prosecution, said: “Mr Atiqi had almost 1,000 Jin Ling cigarettes, which were of particular concern to us.

“Jin Ling is an illicit brand of cigarette not made to European Standards and therefore illegal in Europe.

“We believe that this type of cigarette caused a local house fire in Spalding in which one person died, and during the course of the inquest the Coroner raised serious concerns about the sale of illegal cigarettes in the area, hence why we have been cracking down on sales of this product.”

The goods were discovered in a raid carried out by Lincolnshire Trading Standards, HMRC and the police in July 2012, where more than 3,480 cigarettes and 0.4kg of Hand Rolling Tobacco were seized.

The teams were assisted by Ozzie, a tobacco detection dog, funded by Lincolnshire Smoke Free Alliance.

Keiron Davey, community fire protection manager at Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue, said: “Smoking causes over 3,000 house fires every year in the UK, with smoking materials thought to cause some 30% of all house fires.

“To combat this, legal cigarettes are now designed to go out if they are not repeatedly smoked, for example if they are left burning in an ashtray, or dropped or the smoker falls asleep.

“They have thin bands of paper or ‘speed bumps’ at intervals down the length which ensure the cigarette goes out if the smoker does not regularly inhale from it. There is substantial evidence that RIP cigarettes will reduce the number of fires in the UK.”

The eight charges include one counterfeit offence, six trade mark offences and one product safety offence.

The defendant was also found guilty on non-English labelling and trademark offences.

An inquest in August 2012 into the death of June Buffham (71) of Stonegate, in Spalding, was told that the likely cause of the fire she died in was smoking materials which continued to smoulder.