16th October 2023

Counterfeit tobacco seller guilty

A Taunton shopkeeper who sold illicit cigarettes and tobacco has been ordered to complete 100 hours of community service.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team

A shopkeeper in Somerset who concealed counterfeit tobacco underneath garlic and coffee beans in an attempt to foil sniffer dogs has been ordered to complete 100 hours of community service following an investigation by Heart of the South West Trading Standards Service.

When Officers visited Wawel Polish Shop in Taunton in December 2021 they discovered 1,561 packets of counterfeit cigarettes and 70 pouches of hand rolling tobacco hidden in a compartment beneath the floor. The illicit products had a combined retail value of £10,800.

The shop’s proprietor, Allen Ahmadi, pleaded guilty to selling counterfeit tobacco without the legal health warnings at Taunton Magistrates Court on October 10.

Ahmadi was given a Community Order and ordered to pay costs of £400 and a £95 victim surcharge.

Alex Fry, Operations Manager for Heart of the South West Trading Standards, said: “This illegal tobacco was hidden in a concealment and attempts had been made to prevent detection dogs from finding it. However, that didn’t work, and we are pleased we managed to remove it from supply and take action against the seller.

“Trading Standards will continue to keep seizing illicit tobacco and take robust enforcement action against rogue traders.”

In sentencing, the Magistrate said that it was “a very serious offence” but acknowledged Ahmadi’s guilty plea as well as the fact that this was his first offence.

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