Shopkeepers caught with illegal cigarettes and black market alcohol have been brought before the courts after a crackdown in Sheffield.
Three traders were prosecuted by Sheffield Council trading standards officers.
Two were found in possession of thousands of fake and illicit cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco, and one with more than 200 bottles of non-duty paid and misdescribed vodka and brandy.
Pshko Ali, of Nile Market, Barnsley Road, Pitsmoor, appeared before Sheffield magistrates and was fined £1,000.
He was also ordered to carry out 150 hours’ community service and made to pay £1,000 towards council costs.
The court heard more than 31,000 fake and smuggled cigarettes and 9.6kg of fake hand rolling tobacco were found.
Some of the items were hidden behind packets of soup, jars of pickles and sweets on the shop shelves.
But when Trading Standards officers searched his flat above the shop, they also discovered them hidden under the mattress, on top of the wardrobe, in pots, pans and a deep fat fryer and even in the freezer.
A second trader, Anwar Alsaadi, of A & E News, on Mansfield Road, Intake, pleaded guilty to the possession for sale of more than 9,000 Jin Ling cigarettes which had health warnings in a foreign language and no duty paid.
Magistrates were told the cigarettes are dubbed ‘cheap whites’, made specifically to smuggle into the UK and are one of the most common forms of illegal tobacco.
Alsaadi was fined £300 and ordered to pay £150 towards costs.
And Zafar Hussain, of Colley Road News & Booze, Parson Cross, was fined £400 and ordered to pay £200 towards costs for the possession of more than 200 bottles of illicit vodka and misdescribed brandy.
Coun Jack Scott, Sheffield Council’s cabinet member for environment, recycling and streetscene, said: “We are determined to crackdown on the sale of these illegal goods and, however well-concealed they are, we will find them and prosecute the offenders.
“This has been a tremendously successful operation.
“Illegal tobacco is routinely sold in Sheffield for as little as half price.
“This illegal and unsafe tobacco increases teen smoking, worsens health inequalities and is linked to crime at many levels.”