Illegal cigarettes discovered during shop raid

Lincoln Crown Court
Lincoln Crown Court

Trading standards officers found illegal cigarettes on sale at a Gainsborough shop during three separate raids carried out over a six month period, Lincoln Crown Court was told.

The cigarettes, together with rolling tobacco, were counterfeit goods purporting to be genuine brands such as Amber Leaf, Golden Virginia and Mayfair.

Lee Finch, prosecuting, said that some packets did not display the health warnings required by law and some of the cigarettes were illegal as they did not self-extinguish when lit.

The raids took place at the European Foods convenience store in Trinity Street, Gainsborough. The shop was initially visited by trading standards officers in November 2015. Niaz Amadamin and another man were behind the counter and no legal tobacco products were on display.

Mr Finch said: “A holdall behind the counter was found with unlawful tobacco and counterfeit cigarettes.”

The shop was raided again in February 2016 when more than 1,000 illicit cigarettes and 150gs of tobacco were seized.

Then in May 2016 a further raid led to more illegal products being found.

Mr Finch said that the undercover trading standards officer bought a bottle of water and was then asked if she smoked. She was subsequently shown four different types of cigarettes. As a result 700 illicit cigarettes and 600g of illicit tobacco were recovered.

The court was told that Amadamin left the country after entering his guilty pleas and is now believed to be in Iraq. He was sentenced in his absence. The court was told that in June 2016 he was jailed for nine months for similar offences.

Niaz Amadamin, 31, formerly of Allenby Close, Lincoln, admitted seven charges of possession of counterfeit products, one charge of selling a counterfeit product and a further charge of possession of a dangerous cigarette. He was jailed for six months and was ordered to pay £500 towards prosecution costs. The costs are to be paid from money seized from him on his arrest.

Adinan Tanha, 36, of Trinity Street, Gainsborough, who was behind the counter at the shop during the May 5, raid, admitted two charges of possession of a counterfeit product, two charges of possessing cigarettes that did not have the required health warning and one charge of selling counterfeit goods. He was given a two month jail sentence suspended for 12 months with 100 hours of unpaid work.

Richard Davies, for Amadamin, said his client came to the UK to seek asylum.

He said: “He has a child in the Lincolnshire area. The child and the mother are still in the UK. Before he fled he was an active father.”

David Eager, for Tanha, said: “He has no money. He is not allowed to work because of his status as a refugee. His friends support him.”