Discount shop boss fined for cigarette con

Illegal tobacco (library image)
Illegal tobacco (library image)

The owner of a discount store in Wigan town centre has admitted selling illegal tobacco from his stores.

Mubarak Patel, 42, the proprietor of Pound Bargain in Crompton Street, was fined a total of £1,048.

He admitted a number of offences under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the Trade Marketing Act 1994.

The scam was uncovered following a trading standards raid.

Officers used sniffer dogs to find the tobacco which had been thrown out of an upstairs window as Trading Standards officers entered the property with a warrant.

Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service later found the stash of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco on the flat roof of the shop.

The hard work of both Wigan Council’s Trading Standards team and the Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service has subsequently seen the closure of Pound Bargain.

Coun Kevin Anderson, portfolio holder for environment, said: “This type of conduct from our local shops is absolutely appalling and will not be tolerated.

“Local hardworking businesses are being put at risk by the selfish actions of people like Mr Patel.

“We will continue to work hard to stop this type of illegal behaviour from happening in our borough.”

Julie Middlehurst, group manager regulation of trading standards, said: “We will continue to crack down on illegal sales of tobacco and other counterfeit goods in Wigan borough.

“It is not a victimless crime as illegal sales can be a danger to our residents’ health and have been found to get into the hands of children.​

“We are grateful for the valuable leads we received from local residents in this case and we continue to urge people to come forward with information on any suspicious activity so together we can stop these illegal sales.”

Trading standards have employed an increasingly tough stance against illegal cigarette dealers, with thousands seized over the past year alone.

To report illegal tobacco sales to Trading Standards in confidence phone 01942 827476 or email ts@wigan.gov.uk