Trading Standards crackdown - shop keeper fined £2,500 for illegal cigarettes

A man who runs a convenience store in St Austell has been fined for having illegal cigarettes which were found during a visit by Cornwall Council Trading Standards.

Marek Bzdak of Shelley Court, St Austell, operates the Delicatessen Polonus shop in the town’s East Hill.

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Last April two officers from Cornwall Council Trading Standards called at the shop to give advice on age-restricted sales and illegal tobacco as part of a routine community engagement operation.

During their visit the officers discovered 2,200 illegal cigarettes wrapped in black plastic bags in the store room of the shop.

Bodmin Magistrates Court heard on November 14 that when Bzdak was interviewed by Trading Standards officers he gave implausible excuses for having the cigarettes in the shop.

Bdzak admitted three charges against him and was ordered to pay fines and costs of £2,550. He pleaded guilty to two charges of not complying with tobacco packaging regulations and one charge of having non-duty paid goods on his premises.

Steve Brown, Cornwall Council’s Interim Deputy Director of Public Health explained the harm caused by illegal cigarettes: “Almost 1,000 people die each year in Cornwall from smoking-related illness. The sale of cheap tobacco absolutely undermines all encouragement to quit, and so action against those who sell illegal tobacco and cigarettes has to be maintained.

“Our message is clear – selling illegal tobacco is a crime which can result in fines, community orders or prison. In this case the sale of illegal cigarettes could also have meant the shop losing its licence to sell alcohol and other items.

“And although this prosecution arose from a routine Trading Standards visit, more and more cases are based upon information provided by local residents. Whether you are a shopkeeper or an individual selling from home, the chances are you will be reported. Our crackdown will continue.”

Anyone with information about the sale of illegal tobacco or alcohol can make a report in confidence emailing report-it@cornwall.gov.uk

Story posted on 18 November, 2019