Trading Standards prosecute two Northamptonshire shopkeepers for sale of illegal tobacco

17 October 2017

Two shopkeepers from Northamptonshire have been given suspended prison sentences for selling illegal cigarettes and tobacco.

Following a number of complaints to Northamptonshire County Council’s Trading Standards, test purchase visits were made to A&K Stores in Wellingborough Road, Northampton, in February where the purchaser was able to buy foreign-labelled and non-duty paid cigarettes.

Sniffer dog

Trading Standards officers returned to the shop later that month with specialist tobacco detection dog Yo-Yo where they found 112 packets of cigarettes and 25 pouches of hand rolling tobacco, some of which were counterfeit.

During a separate incident at the store in July, Northamptonshire Police found 381 packets of cigarettes and 16 pouches of hand rolling tobacco.

Arkan Shwan, the former owner of A&K Stores, appeared at Northampton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (October 11th) and was given a 10-week custodial sentence for supplying goods bearing unauthorised trade marks and a further two weeks for supplying tobacco products that were  incorrectly labelled, both suspended for 12 months. 

He was also ordered to serve 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay full legal costs and a victim surcharge, totalling £1,499.

Bespoke hides

As part of the same operation, Trading Standards officers also visited Maja Sklep in Rockingham Road, Kettering, following a test purchase.  Illegal tobacco products totalling 786 packets of cigarettes and 37 pouches of hand rolling tobacco were seized. They were found concealed in bespoke hides by the tobacco detection dog. 

Shop owner Azad Ahmadi was also sentenced at Northampton Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday. He was given an eight-week custodial sentence for supplying goods bearing unauthorised trade marks and a further two weeks for supplying tobacco products that were incorrectly labelled, all suspended for 12 months. 

He was also ordered to serve 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay full legal costs and a victim surcharge, totalling £1,499.

Cllr André González de Savage, county council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection, said: “Yet again our Trading Standards officers have demonstrated that they will take action against anyone suspected of flouting the law by selling illegal tobacco.

“These sellers are also stealing from the taxpayer by avoiding paying duty and undermining legitimate traders making an honest living.

“I would urge anyone who is offered foreign-labelled cigarettes or tobacco for sale in suspicious circumstances to report it to us by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

Shwan, who had previously been warned about selling counterfeit and foreign-labelled tobacco, is no longer the owner of A&K Stores, having sold the business in October this year.


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