A trader from Northamptonshire has been given a suspended prison sentence for selling counterfeit and foreign labelled cigarettes.
Farman Omar Mustafah appeared before Northampton Magistrates Court for sentencing on 4 December after pleading guilty to five charges of selling tobacco illegally.
Mustafah was trading as Euro Express in Corby when Northamptonshire County Council’s trading standards service seized 2,111 packets of illegal cigarettes in February this year. The goods had been hidden in a sophisticated concealment in the ceiling of the shop.
The Magistrates found the offences to be serious as he had continued to sell illegal tobacco after repeated warnings.
The Magistrates felt that the matters passed the custody threshold and having taken his early guilty plea into consideration sentenced him to 10 weeks custody suspended for two years (concurrent for each of the five offences).
They also ordered that he complete 200 hours of unpaid community work and pay the council’s full legal cost of bringing this prosecution and a victim surcharge.
Cllr Ian Morris, county council cabinet member for 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, undermining legitimate traders making an honest living and the effectiveness of efforts to reduce smoking prevalence.
“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.”