Tobacco hoard hidden in shop wall

Tobacco hoard hidden in shop wall

A DEWSBURY shop worker appeared in court after thousands of pounds’-worth of unmarked cigarettes were found hidden in a wall.

Sniffer dogs uncovered the haul when Revenue and Customs officers raided the Middle Eastern Mini Market on October 26.

The store, on South Street, was previously searched in January 2014 as part of a huge police and trading standards operation.

On that occasion, almost £100,000-worth of fake cigarettes and tobacco  were seized from shops in Dewsbury.

Shawan Hassan, 29, of Boothroyd Green, Dewsbury, appeared at Kirklees Magistrates’ Court, where he pleaded guilty to possessing unmarked tobacco products. The court heard that HMRC officials found 19,040 cigarettes and 12.4 kilograms of hand-rolling tobacco.

None of these items carried the required UK duty paid fiscal marks. The unpaid duty totalled £8,696.

Prosecutor Bill Astin said: “This problem is rife in England and Wales.

“Organised crime is often involved and the loss of revenue is enormous.

“Some of these items were hidden inside the walls and were only discovered by the use of a specialist dog.”

Hassan said he had only been working at the shop for a couple of weeks but was evasive when asked who the owner was.

He was ordered to pay £500 compensation.

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