A SHOP owner from Tamworth has been ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £1,127 for selling counterfeit tobacco.
Jameel Gheny, aged 40 from Birmingham was sentenced at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on Friday 18 October 2019 after pleading guilty to the offences at an earlier hearing.
Following searches of Castle Superstore, 31 Market Street in Tamworth on 11 October and 13 November 2018, Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards Officers accompanied by the police found a total of 14,500 illegal cigarettes and 2.8 kgs of tobacco.
The stash, with an estimated street value of £5,000 was found concealed in the shop.
Gill Heath, Cabinet Member responsible for Trading Standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “This is another successful prosecution that shows we take the selling of counterfeit tobacco very seriously.
“The sale of illicit tobacco is a crime which not only damages local communities but harms legitimate businesses and we will take action against individuals who knowingly sell it.
“The sale of illicit goods like this also evades tax which ultimately affects public services and their sale can fund criminal gangs. Our Trading Standards team continue to target their resources where they know the sale of such goods is going on. And now, we can reinvest money recovered under the Proceeds of Crime Act from criminal activity in Staffordshire which is reinvested in the service.”
In the UK, it is estimated that about one in 10 of all cigarettes and half of all hand-rolling tobacco are not duty paid. The illegal trade in tobacco has strong links to organised crime and illicit tobacco has a devastating effect on health. These products are widely available at low cost and this undermines efforts to discourage smoking through higher pricing of legitimate tobacco.
Anyone with information about the sale of illicit goods can call Staffordshire’s confidential trading standards hotline on 01785 330356.