POLICE joined customs and excise officers on a visit to a Blackburn store and found cigarettes and tobacco on which duty had not been paid.

And they later discovered another 2,900 cigarettes in the boot of a car across the road which were also illegal, Blackburn magistrates heard.


Saqib Butt, 43, of Cedar Street, Blackburn, pleaded guilty to allowing the Pound Plus Corner on Whalley Old Road, Blackburn, to be used for the sale of unmarked tobacco products which did not carry appropriate UK duty paid fiscal marks.

He was fined £40 with £85 costs and £30 victim surcharge and ordered to pay £1,130 compensation.

Tracey Yates, prosecuting, said the visit to the Blackburn shop had been part on an operation targetting the sale of non-duty paid cigarettes and tobacco.

The defendant's son was working in the shop and said his dad was at the cash and carry and would be back later.

As well as 840 cigarettes and a quantity of tobacco the officers found a set of car keys which the son said belonged to a car they no longer owned.

"The officers went outside and found the car on the car park across the road," said Mrs Yates. "A further 2,900 cigarettes on which duty had not been paid were found."

Aftab Bakhat, defending, said the cigarettes and tobacco came ito his client's hands via customers who had been on holiday.

"They would exchange sleeves of cigarettes for goods from his shop when they came back from holiday and needed money," said Mr Bakhat. "Some would ask him to sell the cigarettes on their behalf."