THE manager of a town centre convenience store has admitted selling dodgy cigarettes.

Kubus Polski Sklep was caught selling fake Richmond king-sizes and hundreds of packs of cigarettes which did not carry health warnings.

Search dogs found 7,140 illicit cigarettes of 3,400g of illegal tobacco stashed in three locations in the shop and stock rooms on one occasion.

Trading Standards officers discovered the counterfeit 20 packs and 200-cigarette sleeves – as well as fake pouches of Amber Leaf hand-rolled tobacco – on sale in the Legh Street shop on three occasions in June, September and October 2018.

During the third visit, more than 300 packets of cigarettes without the required health warnings and packaging regulations were also on sale.

On Wednesday, November 27, manager Kvetoslava Puzova admitted 16 Trading Standards breaches at Warrington Magistrates Court.

The 22-year-old Czech national, of Algernon Street in Fairfield, was told to complete 240 hours of unpaid work and handed a rehabilitation activity requirement of up to 15 days.

She was also told to pay court costs of £775 plus a victim surcharge of £85.

District judge Barbara Knight also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the goods.

Puzova's dad Roman, also of Algernon Street, was fined £280 and told to pay court costs of £375 plus a £30 victim surcharge after admitting similar offences during an earlier hearing.

Warrington Borough Council’s public protection unit manager Dave Watson said: “This successful partnership operation is part of our ongoing work to clamp down on traders who supply illegal and counterfeit tobacco products.

“The sale of illegal tobacco is linked to wider criminal activity. It also undermines efforts to help people to stop smoking and increases the risk of children taking up smoking by providing a cheap source of tobacco - so it’s very important we take these products off the streets.

“Detection dogs can find tobacco and cigarettes even if hidden in the most unlikely of places.  Offenders need to know that if they choose to deal in these illegal products, they will face the consequences.”

Employees at Kubus - which has now closed down - have appeared in court previously over illegal cigarettes being sold from the store.

In December 2015, Abbas Hamad Mashkoye was fined more than £2,000 for selling illicit tobacco from the premises.

Then, in March 2016, Soleman Hossein received a suspended prison sentence after more than 10,000 illegal cigarettes were found at the shop.

The store was also given the lowest possible rating of zero for food hygiene after inspectors found that the unit was infested during a visit in February last year.