A Herefordshire shop has been caught selling counterfeit cigarettes – on three separate occasions.

Herefordshire Trading Standards officers made three visits since August to Ledbury Mini Market, a grocery store in the town’s New Street specialising in central and eastern European products.

Each time the cigarettes bought were found to be illegal imports. Two of the purchases were made from the owner, Mohammed Amin Aziz, the other from an employee, Izabelle Buczel.

“They were sold purporting to be genuine Benson & Hedges, but smuggled from Europe with no duty paid,” officers said.

Each of the six packets bought over the two-month period was sold at £5.50.

On October 2, Trading Standards then led an operation at the shop along with police.

They found “a substantial quantity of illegal tobacco in Izabelle Buczel’s vehicle, consistent with the illegal cigarettes being sold from the premises”, officials said.

The goods were seized and the case is now subject to an ongoing criminal investigation.

“Where certain criminal activity, such as the sale of illegal tobacco occurs in connection with licensed premises, it should be treated particularly seriously,” Trading Standards said.

They are now pushing for the shop’s premises licence to be revoked – a decision which will be made by a forthcoming licensing subcommittee.

A spokesperson for Herefordshire Council said it could not comment further as the investigation is ongoing.