Illegal cigarettes seized from the stores run by Diljeet Kapoor in Wealdstone. Photo: Harrow Council

A Harrow retailer has been ordered to pay a fine of nearly £6000 after illegal cigarettes were found hidden behind crisp packets, drinks and spices.

This is the second time Diljeet Kapoor, who runs MG Superstore and Myra Supermarket in Wealdstone, is being fined for the offence. Trading standards officers previously found illegal cigarettes at his stores in 2016.

A recent joint investigation by Brent and Harrow trading standards officers and HMRC, with the help of a specially trained sniffer dog, found large quantities of cigarettes with no correct health warning labels or packaging from his stores.

The officers found the illegal cigarettes hidden behind crisp packets and in boxes labelled as bottled water.

“Kapoor tried to deceive us again, but unfortunately for him our officers are trained and will use sniffer dogs to suss out those who try and hide their illegal wares. He continued to sell dodgy tobacco despite a previous conviction and that is completely unacceptable,” said Simon Legg, head of service at Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service.

Kapoor pleaded guilty to the charges at Willesden Magistrates Court, which ordered him to pay £5712 in fines.

“These tobacco products are illegal for a reason – no one knows what is inside them or the damage they can do. The law is there to protect people and those who play with fire will get burned,” commented Cllr Varsha Parmar, cabinet member for environment in the Harrow Council.