Peterborough shopkeeper fined thousands for selling dangerous cigarettes

The Europe Plus store
The Europe Plus store
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A shopkeeper caught selling thousands of potentially dangerous cigarettes in his Peterborough store has been ordered to pay nearly £2,000 by a court.

Idris Kurda, who runs the Europe Plus shop in Mayor's Walk, sold the Polish brand cigarettes to increase his profits.

But Iraqi national Kurda sold the illegal cigarettes to test purchase officers working for Trading Standards in June last year - and a couple of weeks later a warrant was executed at the store, where 4,500 cigarettes and 100g of rolling tobacco was seized.

The goods were found in a drawer under the counter and under a blanket in a store room.

Today (Tuesday) at Peterborough Magistrates' Court, Kudra pleaded guilty to nine offences, and was fined £1,100 and ordered to pay costs of £785.27 and a £110 victim surcharge.

Colin Miles, prosecuting for Peterborough City Council, told the court: "Some of the cigarettes failed the Reduced Ignition Propensity (RIP) Test, which means if cigarettes are not actively being smoked, they don't self extinguish, which is a fire risk.

"The rolling tobacco was found to be counterfeit, which affects revenue, the firm itself and customers as they do not know what is in the product."

In interview Kurda (43) of Deene Court, Peterborough, admitted selling the goods.

Mr Miles said: "He told officers the shop makes about £400-£500 a day - nearly half of that was through illicit sales.

"He said he doesn't sell English label cigarettes. He said he couldn't pay the rent without selling them."

Angela Holland, defending, said; "He has a wife and four children. He worked hard in shops, factories and a car wash to save money to open the shop.

"He didn't have the money to stock the shop with alcohol after getting an alcohol licence.

"A friend said they would bring back cigarettes from Poland for his and his wife's personal use - they both smoke - but he decided to sell them in the shop to get ahead with the money.

"He did not realise he was committing health and safety and trademark offences."

The court was told Kurda had no previous convictions.

The cigarettes and tobacco were ordered to be destroyed.

The offences Kurda pleaded guilty to were:

Sell goods with sign / packaging bearing a sign identical / likely to be mistaken for registered trade mark - in relation to 'Amber Leaf Tobacco' products

Distributor expose / possess for offer / agree to supply / supply a dangerous product - in relation to NZ Gold Cigarettes

Distributor expose / possess for offer / agree to supply / supply a dangerous product - in relation to Minsk Capital cigarettes

Produce / supply a tobacco product with unit pack / container not carrying combined health warning - in relation to Marlboro Cigarettes

Produce / supply a tobacco product with unit pack / container not carrying combined health warning - in relation to NZ Gold Cigarettes

Produce / supply a tobacco product with unit pack / container not carrying combined health warning - in relation to Marlboro Cigarettes

Produce / supply a tobacco product with unit pack / container not carrying combined health warning - in relation to PECT Red Cigarettes

Produce / supply a tobacco product with unit pack / container not carrying combined health warning - in relation to Mayfair Cigarettes

Produce / supply a tobacco product with unit pack / container not carrying combined health warning - in relation to Minsk Blue cigarettes,