A Worksop shopkeeper has been sentenced to nine months in prison – suspended for two years - at Nottingham Crown Court today (Wednesday 31 August) for being in possession of illicit cigarettes for public sale.
Luqman Ahmed, aged 31, of Cresswell Road, Worksop, pleaded guilty to three charges against the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 and one charge against the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.
He must also pay a Proceeds of Crime Act (POCA) confiscation figure of £6,760, to be paid within two months, and the goods seized will also be destroyed.
Trading Standards officers from Nottinghamshire County Council inspected Ahmed’s shop, known as Kubus Mini Market on Gateford Road, including a nearby van belonging to Ahmed.
The van was found to contain 1,124 packs of illicit cigarettes and £6,700 was uncovered from his home address, which was believed to be gained from the sale of illicit tobacco.
Three different brands of the seized cigarettes were tested and failed UK safety requirements as they would not self-extinguish if left unattended, and did not include the required UK prescribed warnings about dangers to health.
Ahmed was fined £1,000 for similar offence in May 2015.
Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, Chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Community Safety Committee, said: “Ahmed has flagrantly ignored the law by continuing to possess illicit cigarettes for public sale, despite receiving a fine for a similar offence last year.
“The seized cigarettes would have put people at increased risk of fires and didn’t give the correct warnings on the health dangers of smoking.
“We hope this sentence will be clear warning to other traders that they risk going to prison if they persistently sell illicit cigarettes.”
Residents who suspect a shop or individual is selling illegal tobacco should contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.
The County Council provides services for people to quit smoking through the specialist service Solutions4Health which is available by calling 07789 778975 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org