A shopkeeper from Dewsbury has been jailed following an investigation by West Yorkshire Trading Standards. Hishyar Gully pleaded guilty to selling illegal cigarettes and tobacco at Leeds Crown Court on June 8 and was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment for trademark offences and four months for breach of safety regulations. The sentences will run concurrently.
West Yorkshire Trading Standards had received numerous complaints about Gully’s business supplying illicit and duty-free tobacco.
Officers visited his shop, Biedronka, five times and seized counterfeit tobacco on each occasion. The products were not in standardised packaging, had no health warnings and were non duty paid. Illegal tobacco was found behind the counter, on the person of staff members and in an unused vehicle and caravan in the store’s rear yard.
Illegal tobacco was also sold to undercover officers on five occasions and subsequent warnings to stop the illegal activity were ignored. In total amount more than 20,000 cigarettes and 17kg of hand rolling tobacco were seized. The loss of excise duty on the seized tobacco would have been around £12,000.
Gully had previously been sentenced, in 2016, to six weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months plus a 200-hour community order for fraudulent trading from the same business for suppling illegal tobacco.
Linda Davis, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Manager said, “Far from being a victimless crime illegal tobacco trading creates a cheap source for children and young people and encourages adults to continue smoking by eroding cost motivation to quit.
“It is also linked to organised crime, human trafficking and contributes to an underground economy worth hundreds of millions of pounds.
“This case shows how seriously the courts view these sales and this should serve as an example to others who might break the law and risk children’s health. I would like to thank all the partners and members of the public for reporting illegal sales and encourage everyone to continue doing so to reduce the harm caused by tobacco in our communities.”