A retailer from Spalding who had gone to “great lengths” to hide illicit tobacco in his store has been prosecuted by Lincolnshire Trading Standards.

Sniffer dogs found 7,280 illegal cigarettes hidden by a concealed platform under the floor which was opened by pressing a switch under the counter.

Retailer Hardi Tofiq Mohammed pleaded guilty to four charges. He was handed a two year conditional discharge and ordered to pay legal costs of £1,000 plus a victim surcharge of £15.

Senior trading standards officer Emma Milligan said: “It isn’t very often that we find a shop keeper has gone to such great lengths to hide illegal cigarettes.

“Cigarettes that don’t have UK safety messages on them are illegal and they also haven’t had any tax paid on them, which isn’t fair on the majority of shops which sell genuine ones,” she added.