A SHOP owner has pleaded guilty to trading offences after more than 7,500 illegal cigarettes were found stashed behind a false wall during a raid on his business.

Bezan Mohamadi, manager of the Darlington Super Market, off Bondgate, has been sentenced to 12 months custody, suspended for two years, after police and Darlington Borough Council’s Trading Standards officers investigated his shop.

The cigarettes and 287 packs of hand rolling tobacco weighing 14.35kg were discovered behind the wall on the upper floor of the convenience store in March 2016.

Police and Darlington Borough Council’s Trading Standards officers seized the counterfeit products, as well as a large quantity of cash and a sales ledger found in a car owned by Mohamadi.

He disputed he was the manager and a three-day trial date was set at Teesside Crown Court, Middlesbrough, however Mohamadi changed his plea on Tuesday, July 18, to accept five charges of trademarks act offences.

A proceeds of crime investigation is ongoing in relation to the cash discovered inside the vehicle.