Sniffer dogs trace contraband tobacco

Illegal tobacco destruction at Makerfield Way, Ince-in-Makerfield
Illegal tobacco destruction at Makerfield Way, Ince-in-Makerfield

A Wigan shopkeeper tried throwing contraband cigarettes out of his window when trading standards raided his store.

But sniffer dogs traced them and Mubarak Patel has since appeared before Wigan magistrates to plead guilty to a breach of the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and the Trade Marketing Act 1994.

The owner of Pound Bargain in Crompton Street, Wigan, was hit with fines totalling £1,048.

Wigan Council’s trading standards team used trained dogs to uncover the tobacco which had been thrown out of an upstairs window as they 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 which has since shut down.

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.”

Regulation group manager Julie Middlehurst 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 resident’s health and have been found to get into the hands of children. We are grateful for the valuable leads we receive 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.”

​To report illegal tobacco sales to trading standards in confidence phone 01942 827476 or email ts@wigan.gov.uk.