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    Billingham shop ordered to shut down for selling illegal cigarettes

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    A Billingham shop has been ordered to remain closed for selling fake cigarettes to customers at less than half the price of real ones. The shop was also found selling them to underage buyers.

    According to local reports, The Red Shop in Belasis Avenue, formerly known as The Yellow Shop, has been given three-month closure order at Teesside Magistrates’ Court. Earlier this week, the court heard that trading standard officers investigated the shop after they received several complaints about sales of ‘cheap’ counterfeit cigarettes.

    The officers found that cigarettes sold to customers were not in plain standardised packaging as required by the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 and did not have a combined health warning in accordance with the requirements under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.

    Test purchases carried out also confirmed that cigarettes bought from The Red Shop were found to be counterfeit, in contravention of the Trade Marks Act 1994. Cigarettes were frequently being sold to customers for £5 – well below the average cost of 20 cigarettes which usually sell for around £12. Reports were also made of sales allegedly being made to children.

    Cllr Norma Stephenson, the council’s cabinet member for access, communities and community safety, said: “I’m pleased our trading standards officers have been able to secure these closure orders today because it shows that we take the sale of illegal and counterfeit cigarettes very seriously.

    “Illegal cigarettes pose a big risk to communities because it’s very difficult to know what is in them and it’s incredibly worrying that such cigarettes are being sold so cheaply to our residents and particularly to children.

    “I’d like to thank the team for their hard work and the work of Cleveland Police, to get the maximum closure of three months. I’d also encourage local people to report any sales of illicit/counterfeit tobacco to us so we can take the necessary action,” reports quoted Stephenson as saying.

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