12th March 2024

NE Lincs achieves POCA ruling

North East Lincolnshire Council will recover proceeds of crime from a shopkeeper guilty of selling illegal tobacco.


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
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I would like to thank everyone involved for bringing the case to this point and hopefully in the years ahead we will see more results like this

North East Lincolnshire Council has achieved a landmark Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) ruling against a shopkeeper responsible for the largest haul of illegal cigarettes ever seized by its Trading Standards service.

When North East Lincolnshire Council Trading Standards Officers, with the support of Humberside Police, executed a search warrant at a property in Exmoor Close, Healing, in November 2021, they found 386,760 illegal cigarettes and 290 pouches of illegal tobacco worth in excess of £227,000.

Nabaz Rasul Mohammed (29) of Freeman Street, Grimsby, subsequently entered guilty pleas to 12 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994, and to a further four offences relating to the packaging of all the products seized. In July 2023 he was sentenced to 18 months in custody suspended for two years, and ordered to attend 20 days of Rehabilitation Activity.

Angela Ammari (51) of Exmoor Close, Healing, pleaded guilty to 11 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and was sentenced to four months in custody suspended for 12 months, and 20 days of Rehabilitation Activity.

Mohammed has now been ordered to pay £2,480.38 within four to six weeks. Failure to comply with the order will result in imprisonment. A POCA application was withdrawn against Ammari, but she was ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,575.

Total benefit costs were awarded against Mohammed of £293,446.84. Any assets that are obtained by him would be applicable for seizure as part of the POCA.

The money will be split three ways, with approximately one third going to the Treasury; one third to the agency responsible for the collection of the monies (often the courts); and one third to North East Lincolnshire Council and the financial investigation team.

Councillor Ron Shepherd, North East Lincolnshire Council Portfolio Holder for Safer and Stronger Communities, said: “This is a significant ruling for North East Lincolnshire Council and the partners who have worked hard together for this outcome.

“I would like to thank everyone involved for bringing the case to this point and hopefully in the years ahead we will see more results like this.

“The authority is committed to cracking down on this kind of criminal behaviour and this hearing illustrates that we will endeavour to bring people to justice.”

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