14th February 2019

Illegal tobacco seller prosecuted

A shopkeeper from St Leonards-on Sea in East Sussex has been given a suspended jail term and fined more than £3,000 after being caught selling illegal tobacco products.


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
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Selling these kind of products brings organised crime into our communities, undermines efforts to discourage smoking and in particular encourages tobacco use among young people

Shopkeeper Arsalan Mohammadi was convicted at Hastings Magistrates’ Court last month following an investigation of his store – One Shop, in London Road – by officers from East Sussex Trading Standards.

Undercover operatives were sold Golden Virginia rolling tobacco not bearing the plain packaging required by law, while officers also seized counterfeit Richmond cigarettes.

The defendant admitted two offences relating to trademark law and was sentenced to eight weeks’ imprisonment, suspended for two years, and handed a community order requiring him to carry out 160 hours’ unpaid work.

The 38-year-old also admitted three counts of breaching the law on packaging and was given a £1,000 fine for each count. He was also ordered to pay £450 court costs and a victim of surcharge of £115.

Richard Strawson, East Sussex County Council team manager for Trading Standards, said: “Our officers work tirelessly to reduce the supply of illegal tobacco through intelligence-led inspections and test purchases.

“Selling these kind of products brings organised crime into our communities, undermines efforts to discourage smoking and in particular encourages tobacco use among young people due to cheaper prices.

“I’d encourage anyone who knows of illegal tobacco sales to report it so that we can work together to tackle this issue and bring offenders to justice.”

Mohammadi was convicted of two counts of breaching the Trade Marks Act 1994 by having in his store counterfeit Richmond cigarettes on January 4 and 11 last year.

He also breached the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Product Regulations 2015 by selling illegally packaged Golden Virginia tobacco on December 22, 2017 and January 4 and 11, 2018.

He was sentenced in a hearing at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on Friday, January 25 2019. The court also ordered the illegal tobacco products be forfeited and destroyed.