Tunstall shop keeper pleads guilty for sale of counterfeit cigarettes

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A shop keeper was taken to court this week after selling illegal cigarettes in Tunstall.

Omar Khidir, 32, from Burton-on-Trent pleaded guilty at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on 18 March for the sale of counterfeit and illegally packaged cigarettes in Chocolate Shop on High Street.

He also admitted to failing to register with Stoke-on-Trent City Council as a food business operator.

This comes after a tobacco trained dog found 252 packets of cigarettes hidden in the wall of the shop.

115 were counterfeit and the rest did not meet the legal packaging requirements for the health warnings not being in English.

The council Trading Standards were sold a counterfeit packet of Amber Leaf hand rolling tobacco in the shop on 12 February last year during a test purchase.

He was fined a total of £1,405. £540 fine by the magistrates, £811 prosecution costs and a £54 victim surcharge.

The goods had a retail value of £2,142, street value of £882 and the evasion of £1,758 tobacco duty.

A Stoke-on-Trent city council spokesperson said: “This shows the council and the courts take the sale of counterfeit cigarette and tobacco products very seriously.

“It’s a crime which damages communities and harms legitimate businesses and we will take action against traders who knowingly sell it.

“Counterfeit tobacco is damaging to people’s health and seriously undermines the work of stop smoking services.

“We’re pleased with the outcome of this latest prosecution, and will continue to take action against any trader found to be selling illegal tobacco in the city.

“This prosecution should act as a warning to anyone breaking the law.”

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