CUSTOMS and Excise officers who raided an Accrington shop discovered nearly 3,000 cigarettes on which the duty had not been paid.

Blackburn magistrates heard they also found 300 grams of hand rolling tobacco, which was also illegal all of which the shop owner said he had bought for his own personal use.

Zana Tahir Mohammed, 42, of Beanfield Avenue, Corby and Barzan Abbas, 35, of Sandwell Road, West Bromwich, pleaded guilty to possessing non-duty paid cigarettes and tobacco.

Mohammed, the owner of the KGN Newsagents, Broadway, Accrington, was fined £276 with £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Abbas, who was working in the shop on the day of the raid in November, was fined £120 with £85 costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Andy Robinson, prosecuting, said the case was brought on the basis of simple possession of the products and not an intention to sell.

He said Mohammed had told investigators he bought the cigarettes and tobacco for his own use because they were cheap.

Mohammed, speaking through an Iraqi interpreter, said he smoked two packets a day and had paid £250 for the tobacco and cigarettes. He said he had been in business for 17 years and did not do illegal things.