UNDERCOVER investigators helped bust a fake cigarette-selling operation at a Cowley Road supermarket.

Karzan Rostam, of Seymour Road, Luton, appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court yesterday having already admitted 25 counts relating to the selling and possession of unmarked tobacco products.

The 46-year old also breached trademark and packaging rules by selling the products with incorrect safety labels and fake colouring.

Fake cigarettes in Oxford – how to tell what's real

The court heard yesterday how undercover buyers first visited the Euro Supermarket as part of a sting operation into the sale of fake cigarettes in February last year.

Later, in May, more illegal cigarettes were bought from investigators at Cowley Goods Store, which Rostam had been sub-letting.


The location of Euro Supermarket on Cowley Road

More purchases were made of fake goods in July and the store was raided where numerous boxes of illegal cigarettes and rolling tobacco was seized.

A sniffer dog helped locate hundreds of boxes of the banned products hidden behind wall panels at the store.

In total 1,102 20-pack boxes of cigarettes were seized and 61 packets of rolling tobacco.

Supermarket owners in court for selling smuggled cigarettes twice

Prosecutors estimated that the value of the haul would amount to about £5,000.

Rostam, a Kurdish national, originally from Iraq, represented himself at the hearing yesterday and said that he was sorry and ‘wrong’ for committing the offence.

He added that if he were to be jailed a small takeaway business he runs in Luton would likely collapse.

Magistrates decided that their powers were insufficient to properly sentence him and Rostam was bailed to appear at Oxford Crown Court for sentencing.

That hearing will take place on March 25.