A SHOPKEEPER has been convicted of possessing illicit tobacco for sale in his convenience store.

Madhy Najim, who owns Plus Convenience Store, in Farnworth, was hit with a 12-month community order and ordered to carry out 100 hours unpaid work after pleading guilty to the offences at Bolton Magistrates Court.

Police and Bolton Council trading standards officers raided the Market Street shop in June last year.

Illicit tobacco was found by a police detection dog. It was uncovered inside two microwaves, a grill and the boot of a black Jaguar XS parked registered to “Abraham Adams” – Najim’s alter-ego.

A council spokesman welcomed the prosecution, which also saw Najim given a suspended jail sentence of 89 days due to convictions for breaching houses of multiple occupation regulations in London.

He said: “We are hitting these kind of offences and working with the police to target those selling these types of counterfeit goods,” said a council spokesperson.

“We’re grateful for the information we received which has helped us to prosecute in this case. I’d encourage anyone with such information to come forward to our trading standards so we can investigate.

“Selling illicit tobacco and other counterfeit goods is a serious crime which affects communities and legitimate businesses.”

On the day of the raid Najim, who said that he was the owner of the shop, was present and but unable to offer any assistance with locating the illicit tobacco.

He admitted that they did sell it in the shop but claimed he could not remember where it was located.

When formally interviewed Mr Najim said he only worked there for a few hours.

After examining his driving licence it was discovered that Mr Najim and Abraham Adams were the same person.

Najim was also ordered to pay £800 in costs, plus victim surcharge of £85.