Worthing shop busted for hiding counterfeit cigarettes in secret cabinet

The trap door containing dozens of fake cigarette packages SUS-150515-133207001
The trap door containing dozens of fake cigarette packages SUS-150515-133207001

TRADING standards officers have seized a haul of illegally marked cigarettes hidden behind a Worthing shop counter.

West Sussex County Council Trading Standards officers, accompanied by two tobacco sniffer dogs called Scamp and Phoebe, discovered the stash at a convenience store in the town centre on April 28.

The counter which had a secret trap door concealing dozens of fake cigarettes SUS-150515-133156001

The counter which had a secret trap door concealing dozens of fake cigarettes SUS-150515-133156001

The raid uncovered 62 packets of foreign labelled cigarettes and 57 pouches of foreign tobacco.

They were all secretly hidden behind the genuine cigarette gantry accessed by a sliding hatch door. Ten packets of tobacco were also seized from a car outside the store.

Seized items totalled a retail value of more than £1,500.

David Barling, West Sussex County Council’s cabinet member for residents services with responsibility for trading standards said: “We are sending a clear message to businesses that we will take robust action to remove illegal tobacco from the market place.

“Cheap, illicit tobacco is more readily available to those on low incomes, including young people, who are amongst the priority groups we are particularly keen to support to not start, or to give up smoking.”

None of the tobacco products seized in Worthing had the correct labelling required by law

Some of the cigarettes are also suspected to be counterfeit which is an offence under the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Two suspects have been arrested and bailed. Investigations are on-going.

If you have any information about illegal tobacco sales please let Trading Standards know by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 04 05 06 or by reporting details online.

To find out more about the West Sussex Stop Smoking Service and local services offered online or by phoning the helpline on 0300 100 1823.