Nottinghamshire County Council Trading Standards has successfully prosecuted two illegal traders following the seizure of counterfeit and illicit cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco, which had an equivalent retail value of approximately £20,000.
The first case, heard at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on 4 March 2022, followed a full investigation by Trading Standards.
During the hearing Serwan Ali of 7a Bridge Street, Wigan pleaded guilty to possession and supply of counterfeit and illicit tobacco products at Friends Mini Market, Low Street, Sutton in Ashfield in October 2021.
Serwan was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment, suspended for 18 months and ordered to pay £600 prosecution costs.
On 25 March 2022, at Mansfield Magistrates’ Court, Kargar Mushini of 47 Whitacre Close Huddersfield pleaded guilty to four offences relating to counterfeit and illicit tobacco found at Delisha of 3 Toothill Lane, Mansfield.
Mushini was sentenced to a 12-month Community Order with 120 hours unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £200 and £95 victim surcharge.
Sadly, illicit cigarettes are much easier for children to buy and get hooked on, as they often sell for pocket money prices. Illegal packets of cigarettes are priced on average at just £4.50 and illegal cigarettes are often sold in singles making them more appealing to children.
Selling counterfeit tobacco also deprives the country of taxes to fund vital public services like the NHS and undermines public health campaigns to help people quit smoking to protect their health.
Councillor Tom Smith, Vice Chairman of the Communities Committee at Nottinghamshire County Council said: “These products are very dangerous for consumers. They often won’t self-extinguish, which makes them a huge fire risk. We’ve also seen how the trade in illicit tobacco attracts other crime and anti-social behaviour to an area, further damaging our communities.”
“We want to send out a message to other unscrupulous traders that we will not tolerate the sale of counterfeit goods in the county. Taking action to stop these criminals and make our communities safer is our priority. We would encourage anyone who has information about the sale of illegal tobacco to report anonymously report concerns to Crime Stoppers on 0800 555 111.”