The owner of a Coalville convenience store has been ordered to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work after he pleaded guilty to selling illicit tobacco from under the counter in his shop.
Leicestershire County Council’s Trading Standards service prosecuted Dlawar Mohamad Jamil after officers carried out three test purchases at Coalville Mini Market at 12 High Street, Coalville on separate occasions between June and October 2022, during which they were sold illegal tobacco products, which were hidden away in the shop.
Mr Jamil pleaded guilty to 17 charges relating to the supply of illicit tobacco products when he appeared at Leicester Magistrates Court on Wednesday 31 January.
The court heard that in June 2022, Mr Jamil sold the Trading Standards test purchaser a counterfeit packet of cigarettes for £5 – less than half the price of a genuine pack - and offered various other brands.
A further packet of cigarettes was sold by the business in July 2022, followed up by an enforcement visit to search for illegal tobacco. The search was supported by the police and a tobacco detection dog named Billy, which successfully identified a concealed shelf under the counter containing 107 packets of cigarettes.
The seized tobacco had a street value of £535, and would have been worth an estimated £1,123.50 if the cigarettes had been genuine brands.
This did not deter Mr Jamil, who again sold a further two packets of illegal cigarettes in October 2022 when Trading Standards again made a test purchase.
Magistrates imposed a Community Punishment Order on Mr Jamil, which means he will need to carry out 150 hours of unpaid work within the next 12 months.
He was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £95.
Trade in illicit tobacco costs the country more than £2 billion in lost tax revenue each year. It funds other criminality, undermines public health and often provides a cheap source of tobacco for young people.
Leicestershire Trading Standards Service will continue to take enforcement action to keep our local communities safe and ensure there is adequate support for our local businesses that do comply with the law.Person:Gary Connors, head of Leicestershire Trading Standards
Anyone who believes that potentially dangerous or counterfeit products are being sold in Leicestershire can report it to Leicestershire Trading Standards using the online reporting form or by calling 0808 223 1133.