A local shopkeeper has appeared in court charged with selling fake cigarettes.

Cowley Road Department Store on Cowley Road near St Hilda’s was found in possession of approximately £5,000 worth of illegal tobacco products.

Police seized 1,102 boxes of cigarettes and 61 packs of rolling tobacco.

The council has described the incident as “brazen” and “a public health menace”. Marlboro Golds were among the products seized.

The accused pled guilty to the offence and represented himself at his hearing, writing on Facebook: “If you’re guilty, own up and don’t look for excuses.”

He pled guilty to selling products with incorrect safety labels and fake colouring. The court hearing comes after Cowley Road Department Store was raided in July, following a six-month undercover investigation.

Police used a sniffer dog to locate the thousands of pounds worth of illegal tobacco products, which were hidden behind wall panels.

Skye Humbert, a smoker studying theology at Regents Park College, told Cherwell: “I think no matter which product is being mis- sold, it’s a total betrayal for the consumer.

“Smoking is a bad habit, but not actually receiving the tobacco from the brand you thought is not only a complete lie, it could be dangerous.”

Police estimate that up to 45 billion fake cigarettes are smoked in the UK every year. Fake cigarettes have been found to include pesticides, arsenic and rat poison.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article claimed that the counterfeit tobacco products were discovered at Euro Supermarket, and that the owner of Euro Supermarket was accused of selling counterfeit tobacco products. In fact, the products were being sold by Cowley Road Department Store, which has since closed down. Euro Supermarket has not been subject to any charges in relation to the sale of counterfeit tobacco products. Cherwell would like to apologise for this error.