A SHOPKEEPER has been given a suspended jail sentence after £11,000 worth of counterfeit and incorrectly labelled cigarettes and tobacco were seized at his store in Radcliffe.

Muhammad Amir had hidden the items, which were discovered during four separate visits by trading standards officers to Bits ‘n’ Bobs in Dale Street.

Officers, helped by trained tobacco detection dog Milo, visited the shop in November 2014, as well as January, February, and March this year.

The combined retail value of the four seizures was estimated to be almost £11,000 and all of the items were forfeited for destruction.

Amir, aged 38, of Longsight, pleaded guilty to 45 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and Consumer Protection Act 1987 at Bury Magistrates Court on Tuesday.

He was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake 100 hours’ unpaid community work. He was also instructed to pay £1,016 court costs plus an £80 victim surcharge.

Mr Andrew Johnson, head of trading standards and licensing at Bury Council, said after the hearing: "We always urge consumers not to buy counterfeit goods, which can be shoddy, unsafe and even linked to organised crime.

"This defendant is a serial offender who has a wilful disregard for the law, and the penalty he has received reflects this."

Amir was previously convicted on March 3 for offences related to tobacco seizures made at his shop in July and October 2013, when he had pleaded guilty to seven offences and was given a £500 fine, plus £500 costs and a £50 victim surcharge.

Mr Johnson added: "This is another successful example of agencies working together to protect the local economy. It is not just big business that suffers as a result of this type of activity, but honest local retailers struggling to compete with the black market.

"Anyone wishing to bring counterfeiting to our attention can contact Bury Trading Standards on 0161 253 5566 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111."