A man caught selling illegal tobacco and cigarettes at a Dewsbury shop has been jailed for 15 months.
Leeds Crown Court heard on three occasions trading standards officers discovered counterfeit products on which duty had not been paid during visits to Global Groceries in Bradford Road in 2014.
The packs of cigarettes and tobacco were being sold for only £5 “under the counter” to those who knew to ask for them.
Charles Bourne-Arton said it was not known who was behind the operation as the tenancy for the premises had been taken out in a false name but the address was that used by Arkan Ahmed.
After a test purchase when an officer was able to buy a pouch of counterfeit Golden Virginia tobacco for £5 at the shop, searches were made and 114 packs of counterfeit Golden Virginia tobacco, 95 packs of false Amber Leaf tobacco and 1952 packs of cigarettes on which no duty had been paid were seized. A further check was made at a warehouse across the street from the shop and 6,086 packets of cigarettes and 449 packets of illegal hand rolled tobacco were found.
Ahmed was arrested and initially denied knowing anything about the products but then admitted a man brought bags containing the items to the shop to be sold. It was estimated from the seizures that at least £45,000 in duty had been evaded.
Ahmed, 36 of Princess Gardens, Dewsbury admitted fraudulent trading.
Jailing him Recorder David Gordon said the offence was serious since customers who purchased the products had no way of knowing what was actually in them and the risk to health that could mean.