Illegal Cigarettes Concealed in Shop Counter Hide Led to Prosecution of Abbey Green Mini Supermarket Owner

Bokan Najim Mohammed, the owner of Abbey Green Mini Supermarket in Nuneaton, has been successfully prosecuted for selling counterfeit tobacco products.

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Officers, acting on intelligence that the store was selling illegal (counterfeit and non-duty paid) cigarettes and tobacco, visited Abbey Green Supermarket with specialist sniffer dogs.

The sniffer dogs identified a secret hide, built in to the shop counter and hidden behind a shelf, in which officers discovered 600 cigarettes and 15 packets of rolling tobacco.

The cigarettes were being sold for around £3 per packet, a third of the price of a genuine packet.

Warwickshire County Councillor Howard Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said:

“Most smokers take up the habit before they reach the age of 18 and the sale of cheap illegal cigarettes makes it easier for children and young people to buy tobacco and get hooked on a product that kills 1000 Warwickshire residents each year.”

“I’m delighted that Warwickshire Trading Standards are taking this tobacco enforcement action, protecting the health of our children.”

Illegal cigarettes and tobacco, which are often sold at pocket money prices to young people, is a threat to their health. Further, the sale of cheap cigarettes and tobacco damages the livelihoods of legitimate traders.

At Nuneaton Magistrates Court on 30 January 2018, Bokan Najim Mohammed (aged 31, of Middlesex Road Coventry CV3 1PQ) pleaded guilty to five offences relating to the sale of counterfeit tobacco products and one offence relating to tobacco products not having the combined health warning.

Magistrates fined Mr Mohammed £350 plus a £35 victim surcharge. £1500 was awarded as a contribution towards the Local Authority costs.

In mitigation, Mr Mohammed (who was not represented), stated that he had never done this before and sold illegal cigarettes because his shop did not make enough money.

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Anyone with information about the manufacture or sale of illegal tobacco can phone the confidential fakes hotline on 0300 303 2636.