BURNLEY and Pendle have cemented their reputations among the capitals for fake cigarettes and tobacco after six shopkeepers were prosecuted by consumer watchdogs.

Last year, national trading standards bosses identified East Lancashire as a hot-spot for bogus cigarette sales.

Between July and December investigators from Lancashire County Council’s trading standards conducted a series of test purchases across the two boroughs.

Their inquiries have now led to court fines totalling more than £3,000 after five premises were caught selling illegally-labelled cigarette products without health warnings.

The largest penalties were handed out by magistrates to Azeem Abbas Shah, who was fined £1,200 with £100 costs after being caught aiding and abetting illegal tobacco sales at Lyndhurst Road Food & Booze in Burnley.

Mohammed Aftab, 51, and Ased Aftab, of Branch Road, Burnley, were each fined £400 with £90 costs after being prosecuted for supplying unlabelled Jin Ling cigarettes and pouches of Golden Virginia tobacco without health warnings.

This followed a test purchase at their store Super Value, Reedley magistrates were told.

Another £400 fine with £60 costs was imposed on Arafat Ahmed, 35, of Chapel House Road, for similar offending at the Madina Food Store in Regent Road, Burnley.

In Colne, at the Knotts Lane convenience store, Mummad Basharat, 33, of William Street, Nelson, was convicted of further fake tobacco offences and fined £800 with £100 costs.

And a similar fate befell Khalid Mahmood, 26, of Moore Street, Nelson, as he was fined £400 with £100 costs for similar misdemeanours at the Marsden Wines store in Barkerhouse Road.