An illicit trade crackdown in Derbyshire has resulted in a number of retailers being hit with steep fines and long hours of unpaid community work.

Earlier this month Ali Abdul of Euro Mini Market in Ilkeston was given a 12-month community order with a requirement to do 300 hours of unpaid work - the maximum available - after he was found guilty of six charges of selling counterfeit tobacco which failed UK fire safety standards. He was also required to pay £1,800 costs.

The prosecution followed a test purchase and subsequent raid on Euro Mini Market by trading standards officers last year.

Earlier this week retailer Dilshad Rasheed of Belper Mini Market was also handed down a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 200 hours unpaid work by Derby Magistrates.

Dilshad pleaded guilty to nine charges of selling and possessing counterfeit tobacco products following a number of raids on his store in the past year.

Sniffer dogs had found products hidden behind the counter, inside a specially constructed steel door and a vacuum cleaner, behind a false ceiling and a skirting board.

Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for health and communities, councillor Dave Allen, said: “This successful prosecution sends out a clear message to traders who sell illegal tobacco that we will not tolerate it.

“We always act on information that we get and we want these traders to know we will catch them and we will prosecute them.

“We have a duty to protect consumers and legitimate traders as well as doing what we can to discourage people from smoking and we will continue taking a hard line on those people who break the law.”

The crackdown, which began last year, has already seized 876,090 illegal cigarettes and 794,825kg of illegal tobacco, with a high street value of £483,000.