A shopkeeper in Evesham, Worcestershire, has pleaded guilty to selling illegal cigarettes and tobacco following a prosecution by Worcestershire County Council Trading Standards.
During multiple raids of the Super Mini Market store in Port Street, Evesham between 8 December 2021 and 14 June 2023, Trading Standards Officers, assisted by West Mercia Police and a specialist tobacco sniffer dog, discovered large amounts of illicit cigarettes and tobacco. In addition to being counterfeit and non-duty paid, the products did not include the legally required safety warnings.
The business owner, Jamal Saeed (51), admitted possessing and allowing the sale of counterfeit and illegal cigarettes and tobacco when he appeared at Worcester Magistrates Court on 14 July 2023.
The Court heard that during the raids cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco were seized with a retail value of £23,085 if they had been genuine.
Saeed was given an eight-week custodial sentence, suspended for 12 months, and ordered to pay costs and a victim surcharge totalling £7,658.
Councillor Marcus Hart, Cabinet Member for Communities at Worcestershire County Council said: “The sale of illegal tobacco products causes significant problems within our communities; the low prices charged for these illegal products only serves to encourage youngsters into smoking and deprives the exchequer of funds while also damaging local businesses that sell cigarettes responsibly and legitimately. Taxation on tobacco products is aimed at encouraging smokers to quit, but illegal products being available for less than half the price of legitimate products undermines this and the health of the public in those communities.”
He added: “Our Trading Standards Officers will continue to act against anyone found to be involved in the illegal tobacco supply chain. This is another great result for our Trading Standards team, working in partnership with our colleagues at West Mercia Police.”