A WESTCLIFF convenience store has been reprimanded for selling illegal and dangerous tobacco to its customers.

Trading Standards officers made the seizure as part of its ongoing crackdown on the illegal tobacco trade.

This follows a spate of successful seizures over the past five months.

Trading Standards officers have been carrying out multiple raids for illegal tobacco across the borough, with the support of Essex Police.

Tevfik Yuksel and Baranarda Ltd, trading as North Road Supermarket, North Road, Westcliff, pleaded guilty to a number of offences including supplying counterfeit, incorrectly marked and unsafe cigarettes and tobacco.

Southend Magistrates’ Court imposed fines to the businesses totalling £4,446 and costs of £2,386 on On September 27. The illegal goods were also forfeited for destruction.

The prosecution followed a Trading Standards raid on February 3, where they found more than 2,500 cigarettes and 3.35 kg of hand rolling tobacco, which was seized by officers.

In addition to fake and incorrectly marked cigarettes and tobacco, later testing revealed that a quantity of the cigarettes were unsafe. They failed to have reduced “ignition propensity”, a safety feature in all genuine cigarettes to prevent or reduce the risk of house fires if cigarettes are left alight on furniture.

Councillor Tony Cox, for Transport, Waste and Regulatory Services, said: “Those who deal in illegal tobacco are encouraging people to smoke by providing a cheap source which appeals to a variety of people, including children, who aren’t willing to pay full price.

“Purchasers can also be unaware of the additional dangers hidden within these products, such as the higher risk of causing a house fire.

“We will continue to work tirelessly to protect the health and wellbeing of our residents, and the continued success of our Trading Standards officers shows that we are moving in the right direction with this issue.

“Offenders need to know that if they deal in these illegal products, Trading Standards officers will make full use of all the enforcement tools and sanctions at their disposal.”