Congraves Sweets and Treats Atherstone: Seller of Fake Cigarettes Handed Suspended Sentence and 150 hours unpaid work

Morad Mohmad Ahmed who works at Congraves Sweets and Treats, Long Street Atherstone has been successfully prosecuted by Warwickshire County Council’s Trading Standards Service.

Trading Standards Officers visited Congraves Sweets and Treats in March 2016 and discovered counterfeit cigarettes hidden in a holdall in the shop. Amongst the cigarettes found were fake versions of Richmond cigarettes and Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco.

A month later, Police Officers discovered more counterfeit tobacco and cigarettes hidden in the boot of a vehicle parked at the rear of the premise. Trading Standards Officers were alerted and the boot’s contents passed on to them for further investigation.

At Nuneaton Magistrates Court on Tuesday 14th February 2017, Mr Morad Mohmad Ahmed (aged 39, of Firbeck House, St. James Street, Doncaster, DN1 3AU) pleaded guilty to nine offences of having in his possession, custody or control with a view to sale, counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco contrary to section 92(1)(c) of the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Mr Ahmed was sentenced to 9 months custody (one month for each offence, to run consecutively) suspended for 2 years with 150 hours unpaid work and costs of £1000 plus victim surcharge of £115.

An order for forfeiture and destruction of the cigarettes and tobacco was made.

Warwickshire County Councillor John Horner, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:

“We know that organised crime is responsible for the production and supply of these illegal products and their sale undermines the good work that is being done to reduce smoking levels.”

Warwickshire County Councillor Philip Johnson, Chair of the council’s Communities Overview and Scrutiny Committee added:

“Our message is clear and unchanged: don’t support it – report it.”

Warwickshire consumers and retailers can report the sale of illegal cigarettes anonymously via our confidential fakes hotline on 0300 303 2636.

The sale of fake cigarettes and tobacco, often at ‘pocket money prices’ that are half the cost of genuine and legally sold cigarettes make it easier for children and young people to start smoking and become addicted. Criminals don’t care who they are selling to and don’t ask for ID.

Tax revenues that could support the NHS and schools are also lost and instead, profits from the sale of counterfeit cigarettes are used to fund other forms of organised crime. Finally, legitimate retailers – often small or family businesses – are also damaged as smugglers and criminals steal their trade.

For more details on NHS Stop Smoking Services in Warwickshire go to www.quit4good.co.uk or phone 0800 085 2917.

More information about the work of Trading Standards is available on the Warwickshire Website: http://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards