A convicted illegal cigarette seller in Lincoln tried to hide near a toilet to avoid being caught, but his attempt failed and he has now been fined.
Lincolnshire Trading Standards secured a conviction against Mr Daria Shorsh Namek, who owns International Food 4 You, also known as International Foods, at 18 Portland Street in the city.
The 28-year-old tried to distance himself from the products and avoid being caught, by hiding near a toilet and claiming to be a new employee despite running the business.
Mr Namek was convicted for the possession and supply of counterfeit, unsafe and incorrectly labelled tobacco products.
The premises was previously inspected by Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police on November 29, 2018 and February 5, 2019.
During those visits officers found a total of 49,940 illicit cigarettes and 4.35kg hand rolling tobacco, which were all seized.
However, the illegal products were also stored off-site in an attempt by Mr Namek to further distance the shop and himself from the crime.
Namek, formerly of Newark Road, was convicted at Lincoln Magistrates Court on Thursday, January 21 this year.
He was handed a six-months suspended sentence and ordered to pay a contribution to costs of £1,000.
He was also ordered to pay a £450 fine and a victim surcharge of £115.
Daniel Brown, Principal Trading Standards Officer involved in the investigation, said: “I hope this recent prosecution reinforces how dedicated Lincolnshire Trading Standards is to tackling the sale of illicit tobacco.
“This kind of criminality serves to undermine legislation that is there is protect consumers and support local retailers that trade within the law particularly during this current economic climate.
“Selling illicit tobacco is not simply a tax evasion matter; these products are often counterfeit, made in unhygienic conditions and fund further criminality within organised crime gangs. In this case tobacco products were being stored on and around a working toilet.
“The sentence passed by the court demonstrates how seriously criminal offences of this nature are taken and that offenders may well be punished by custodial sentences.”