31st May 2023

TS ‘declares war’ on underage sales

A Preston shop that sold illicit cigarettes to a 14-year-old has been fined more than £4,300.


By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
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Trading Standards Officers are declaring war against shops prepared to sell age-restricted products to children

A supermarket which sold counterfeit cigarettes to a 14-year-old has been fined more than £4,300 following an investigation by Lancashire County Council Trading Standards.

The Polish Market on New Hall Lane in Preston was visited as part of an underage testing operation in November 2022 and cigarettes were sold to the teenager. Further investigation by the Trading Standards team revealed more than 100 packs of counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco, and hundreds more in smuggled, non-plain packaging – the sale of which has been outlawed since 2017.

When interviewed, Qassim Samen, 35, the owner and sole director of Polish Market Ltd, told officers that the sale ‘had been made by mistake after a Romanian man had left the packs at his shop’.

However, the court heard that, only a few months after the interview, an officer was able to buy another packet of smuggled cigarettes at the store.

After submitting a guilty plea on May 15, Samen and his company were fined and ordered to pay costs totalling £4,363. Magistrates also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of 786 seized packs of illicit cigarettes and tobacco.

Speaking after the case, County Councillor Michael Green, cabinet member for health and wellbeing at Lancashire County Council, said: “Trading Standards Officers are declaring war against shops prepared to sell age-restricted products to children. When unscrupulous shopkeepers sell these illegal products, they can endanger the lives of our residents and they deprive our local communities of funding for public services.

“We will continue to prosecute traders in Lancashire who are selling smuggled and counterfeit products and any businesses who sell items to someone who is underage.”

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