Harry's Mini Market in Ferryhill ordered to close over illegal tobacco sales

Trading standards officers found packets which did not meet regulations and test purchases obtained cigarettes and tobacco believed to be counterfeit. Credit: Durham County Council

A County Durham shop has been ordered to close after illegal tobacco was sold from the premises.

Durham County Council secured a three-month closure order for Harry’s Mini Market, on Market Street, Ferryhill, from Peterlee Magistrates’ Court.

The council said trading standards officers had visited the shop in October, when they were told there were no illicit tobacco products were in stock on the premises.

However, a search found cigarette packets which did not display the necessary health warnings and a bag containing various cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco.

Some of these cigarettes were tested and confirmed as counterfeit.

During a further visit to the shop a month later, a test purchase was carried out and twopackets of cigarettes were sold, which were also believed to be counterfeit.

A quantity of electronic cigarettes was also seized during a search of the premises as it was believed that they exceeded the permitted volume of nicotine-containing liquid.

When a second test purchase was carried out, two packets of cigarettes which weremarked as duty free were sold. These were believed to be counterfeit.

Owen Cleugh, Durham County Council’s public protection manager, said: "We hope this serves as a warning that the sale of illegal tobacco in our communities will not be tolerated.

"It can have a serious impact on health, as well bringing crime and nuisance intoour towns and villages.

"It also makes it easier for children to get hold of cheap tobacco, undermining the efforts of stop smoking services which do fantastic work to prevent and reduce cases of smoking.

"We continue to investigate this case and further action will be taken if necessary."

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