A SHOPKEEPER claimed she kept shisha tobacco cartons and hookah pipes in her store because they made the place ‘look colourful’, magistrates were told.

But Shabnam Jan, who runs Maria’s Cash and Carry in Nelson, has now been left with a £3,500 legal bill after trading standards officials discovered a haul of 306 shisha packets upstairs at the Bradley Road premises.

None of the packs found stored above the cash and carry contained government health earnings, the Burnley court was told.

Nick McNamara, prosecuting on behalf of Lancashire trading standards, said the case had been brought under consumer protection legislation.

Safety regulations say tobacco products, including shisha, must be supplied complete with appropriate health warnings, the court heard.

Mr McNamara said the store was visited by trading standards on June 13 last year and the shisha tobacco cartons were found on display in a glass display cabinet next to the tills.

Several hookah pipes, used for smoking, were positioned nearby.

The court was told that when interviewed, Jan said she had bought the packets in 2010 but had stopped selling them around 18 months previously.

She claimed she had kept the packets just in case the salesman who she had bought them from returned, so she could ask for a refund.

Mr McNamara said that when questioned as to why she had the shisha boxes on display, she said they had made it ‘look more colourful’.

Jan, 37, of Waterside Hall, Montford Road, Nelson, denied possessing shisha tobacco, including 160 packs of Nakhla, 127 of Al Fakher, five of Starbuzz and 13 of Flavalab brand, and one unidentified semi-processed container of tobacco leaf, without health warnings.

But she was convicted after a trial and fined £900.

She was also ordered to pay £2,556 costs and a £90 victim surcharge.