The sale of illegal cigarettes to an undercover Trading Standards Officer and the subsequent discovery of over 100 packets of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco led to a successful prosecution by Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards.
Following a tip-off that illegal cigarettes and tobacco were being sold at Canal Mini Market on Clemens Street Leamington Spa, an undercover Trading Standards Officer visited the store and purchased a packet of Richmond cigarettes for £4. Trading Standards Officers returned the next day with tobacco sniffer dogs and seized 87 packets of cigarettes and 27 packets of hand rolling tobacco. None of the tobacco or cigarettes were in standardised packaging and most did not carry the appropriate health warnings.
At Nuneaton Justice Centre on Tuesday 5th June 2017, Mr Kawa Rashid Sulaiman, (age 32 of Foleshill Road Coventry), owner of Canal Mini Market pleaded guilty to 20 offences under the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 and the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016. He was fined £210 and ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1640 and a £30 victim surcharge, a total of £1880.
Warwickshire County Councillor Howard Roberts, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety and Fire and Rescue, said:
“Smoking is still the biggest preventable cause of death in England, accounting for more than 80,000 premature deaths each year and around 700 per year in Warwickshire*.”
“The sale of cheap illegal tobacco and cigarettes undermines the work everyone is doing to reduce the numbers of people smoking and improve the health of Warwickshire residents.”
“I’m delighted that Trading Standards is carrying out this important to work to support our public health goals.”
In mitigation, Mr Sulaiman’s solicitor said his client had foolishly agreed to sell tobacco, had not made a huge profit from doing so and had pleaded guilty to the offences at the earliest opportunity. He also stated that following the Trading Standards raid his client had closed his shop and was no longer working in retail.
The seized tobacco was forfeited and will be destroyed.
For more information and support to quit smoking in Warwickshire visit: quit4good.co.uk
Anyone with information about the manufacture or sale of illegal tobacco can phone the confidential fakes hotline on 0300 303 2636.
More information about the work of Warwickshire Trading Standards can be found on the Warwickshire Website: https://www.warwickshire.gov.uk/tradingstandards