Boston

Illegal cigarettes found in secret compartment in Boston shop

Over 6,000 illegal cigarettes that failed safety tests were found in a “sophisticated hide” in the wall during inspections at a Boston shop.

Officers from Lincolnshire Police, Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Immigration Enforcement carried out inspections at Europe Express in Boston in 2018.

6,700 illegal and illicit cigarettes were found during the two inspections. A large number were found in a secret compartment in the wall. The cigarettes were found to be counterfeit, had foreign health warnings and failed safety tests.

Shop owner Sardar Majid Aziz, 35, of Wing Drive in Fishtoft appeared at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court on Monday, September 30. He pleaded guilty to supplying and possessing illicit cigarettes.

Electronic hide discovered at Europe Express in Boston. Photo: LCC

Mr Aziz was sentenced to a 12 month community order with 200 hours of unpaid work, contribution towards costs of £1,500 and a victim surcharge of £85.

Andy Wright, Principal Trading Standards Officer said: “We found these cigarettes in a really unique and sophisticated hide within the wall of the shop. It could be opened remotely and was self-closing.

“The construction of the hide showed us that significant effort was put into concealing these items.

“Legitimate cigarettes are legally required to be self-extinguishing, and the ones we seized here didn’t have this feature. Fire Services report that there have been deaths in the county from fires started by illegal cigarettes because they continue to burn if unattended. It is extremely important that we take as many off the streets as possible.”

Anyone with concerns about the sale of illicit cigarettes should contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.