Warnings over counterfeit cigarettes after fire that killed cat in Boston

The property in Boston was completely gutted. Credit: Lincolnshire County Council

Warnings have been issued about the dangers of illegal cigarettes after a fire which gutted a house and killed a cat.

The property, in Field Drive, near Boston, Lincolnshire, was set alight after the occupant fell asleep while smoking in May.

Properly licensed cigarettes should extinguish themselves, but cheaper counterfeits like the one the woman was using can continue to burn.

She suffered burns and smoke inhalation, but lost her cat in the blaze.

Andy Wright, principal trading standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council, warned that such cigarettes are being sold across Lincolnshire.

The cigarettes were a type that would not extinguish on their own. Credit: Lincolnshire Live/BPM Media

He said: "The owner has very kindly allowed us to share the fire service's photos in the hope that what happened to her in May this year won't happen to other people buying similar cigarettes.

"The fire was very distressing for her. The cigarette that caused the house fire was of the illegal type that fail the British standard which requires cigarettes to pass an ignition propensity test.

"If you buy legal cigarettes in the UK, the paper they are rolled in is treated with a substance which means that if you leave it unattended it will go out on its own. A lot of the ones we are finding, which are illegal, counterfeit and originally from Eastern Europe, don't pass the ignition test."

Fire tore through the woman's property while she was sleeping Credit: LINCOLNSHIRE LIVE/BPM MEDIA

The waning comes after a shop in Boston was closed down by magistrates following the seizure of almost 7,500 illegal cigarettes and 176 illegal vapes.Mr Wright said: "A large proportion of the cigarettes seized from Tatry Store would not have passed ignition propensity testing."

It is the fourth shop in Boston ordered to close in recent months over the sale and supply of illegal cigarettes and vapes.Mr Wright said other legitimate businesses struggle to compete with the illegal trade. He said: "Normal cigarettes cost about £11 a pack. The cheapest we have found illegal cigarettes being sold for was £3.50."

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