A SHOP owner who sold smuggled cigarettes and kept thousands more has been jailed for 12 months.

Karzan Rostam, who owns Cowley Department Store, at 132 Cowley Road, Oxford, was sentenced to the prison time at Oxford Magistrates' Court today.

He admitted 25 charges of supplying or possessing smuggled and fake cigarettes and rolling tobacco.

It is the third time he has been convicted for similar offences. He served a four-month jail term in 2016.

Rostam, 46, was found selling 11 packets of the illegal cigarettes in an undercover sting by county council officers as he was helping at Euro Supermarket, at 120 Cowley Road, on February 25, 2018.

Banbury Cake: Scamp the dog Scamp the dog

He told undercover officers that illegal cigarettes could be bought from his shop, which was opening further down the road.

It was raided by the county council on May 20, 2018. More than 20,000 cigarettes and nearly 3kg of hand rolling tobacco were found.

More than half of the contraband was hidden behind a false wall in the shop’s kitchen and was only found by a sniffer dog, Scamp.

Another raid found yet more illegal cigarettes and tobacco on July 16, 2018.

Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Trading Standards operations manager, said: “This sentence sends a strong message to anyone thinking about getting involved in the illegal tobacco trade.

“We have a team of skilled and dedicated Trading Standards professionals, who will relentlessly investigate those involved in peddling this public health menace. In this case, Rostam has paid a high price.”