A CONVENIENCE store owner has admitted the sale of tobacco products bearing false trademarks.

Ismail Maulud, who runs Westlea store in Seaham, pleaded guilty to a single charge brought by Durham County Council under the Trademarks Act, of 1994.

It follows a number of test purchases made at the premises, in West Grove, by undercover trading standards officers, between October 3, 2017, and October 4 last year.

Large amounts of illicit cigarettes and other tobacco products were subsequently seized in a raid at the store and other premises.

The council sought a two-month closure order, as a result, and has brought the prosecution of Maulud and his partner, Catherine Flanagan, both of Meadow Avenue, Blackhall Colliery, who works at the shop.

Appearing at a plea hearing at Durham Crown Court Maulud, 40, admitted possessing for sale goods, cigarettes and other tobacco products, bearing a sign identical, or likely to be mistaken for a registered trademark, with a view to make a gain, without the consent of the proprietor.

But 39-year-old Flanagan denied the charge, claiming she was unaware the cigarettes she sold were bearing false trademarks.

She was bailed to stand trial at the court on Thursday May 9, while sentence of Maulud was adjourned until after the conclusion of that hearing, which will only last a day.