A Nottingham man must carry out 150 hours of community service after being caught in possession of more than 1,400 packets of illegal tobacco.
Ramin Salehi, aged 27, of Gladstone Street, was stopped by officers from Nottingham City Council’s trading standards team in November 2017 and found with keys to two cars. The 1,463 tobacco products were found inside these vehicles.
It followed a previous test purchase at Nottingham Mini Market, in Radford Road, where Salehi was working behind the counter.
This led to a further inspection of the premises and 289 packets of illegal tobacco were found hidden inside fruit juice cartons.
The retail value of the illegal tobacco products seized over the three operations last year was £15,589.98.
At Nottingham Magistrates’ Court last week (21 November), Salehi was found guilty of the offences relating to the illegal tobacco products found within the cars, but not guilty to the supply of the 289 products found on the shop inspection on 9 November, 2017.
However, magistrates agreed that he had made the sale for the test purchase.
Salehi received a 12-month Community Order with 150 hours’ unpaid work, court costs of £300 and a victim surcharge of £85. A forfeiture and destruction order was also granted.
In a separate case at the magistrates’ court on 23 November, Sardar Latif pleaded guilty to two offences in relation to selling counterfeit and incorrectly-labelled tobacco at Lifestyle Express Store, in St Bartholemews Road.
Latif, aged 30, of Bullace Road, Nottingham, was fined £326, with £552 costs and a £32 victim surcharge.
Councillor Toby Neal, Portfolio Holder for Community Protection at Nottingham City Council, said: “These two successful prosecutions send a strong message to anyone selling illegal tobacco products – our officers will take action to bring you before the courts.
“A major concern is that because the trade of counterfeit and illicit tobacco is unregulated, there is no control over what is mixed in with it.
“For that reason, these are excellent results for Nottingham City trading standards. We take the sale and distribution of these fake products throughout the city extremely seriously, working alongside Nottinghamshire Police and acting on local intelligence.
“We urge anyone who has any information about somebody selling cheap cigarettes and tobacco to report this to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”