A brazen shop owner has been fined £6k after a specially-trained sniffer dog discovered 14,000 cigarettes that fell well below legal standards being secretly sold, putting customers’ health at risk.
Mihai Lupes, 57, who owned the shop Bacovia Ltd on Neasden Lane, was caught red-handed in an operation led by Brent & Harrow Trading Standards.
In July 2021, following a tip-off that the shop was selling Romanian-labelled tobacco products, Trading Standards officers paid a visit with a skilled sniffer dog trained to track down illicit tobacco products.
They were appalled to find 700 cigarette packets, containing 14,000 cigarettes, that were not in standard packaging and were missing the necessary health warnings to warn smokers of the dangers of the habit required by law.
Lupes had previously been prosecuted twice for similar offences and once for selling alcohol to an underage customer.
The Magistrates said, “This is the third similar offence and you learnt no lessons. You keep committing the same offence.”
Officers seized the products and Lupes was summoned to court. He plead guilty to possessing the illegal tobacco products on 23 June 2022 at Willesden Magistrates Court and was fined a total of £6,096.
Cllr Harbi Farah, Brent’s Cabinet Member for Safer Communities and Public Protection, said: