A WORCESTER shopkeeper has pleaded guilty to selling illegal cigarettes and tobacco following multiple raids by Trading Standards officers, assisted by officers from West Mercia Police.
Ali Ahmad, 35, of Shap Drive, admitted possessing and selling counterfeit and illegal cigarettes and tobacco from the International Food & Drink store in Lowesmoor, Worcester when he appeared at Worcester Magistrates Court earlier this year.
During raids on 28 July 2020, 13 and 27 September 2021 a team including a specialist tobacco sniffer dog, found significant quantities of counterfeit, non-duty paid and illegal cigarettes and tobacco that did not carry the legally required safety warnings.
The Court heard that, during the three visits, 884 packets of cigarettes and 124 pouches of hand rolling tobacco were seized, with a total street value of over £4,000 and had the products been genuine the retail value would have been in excess of £10,000.
Mr Ahmad was given a 12-month Community order with 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs totalling £3,500.
Simon Wilkes, Head of Worcestershire Regulatory Services, said: “The sale of illegal tobacco products is a scourge on communities; the low prices charged for the product encourages youngsters into smoking, deprives the exchequer of funds and damages local businesses that sell cigarettes responsibly and legitimately.
We will continue to act against anyone found to be involved in the storage, distribution or supply of illegal tobacco.
This is another great result for our small team of Trading Standards Officers, working in Partnership with our colleagues at West Mercia Police.”
To report a business selling counterfeit or unsafe goods contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133.