A shopkeeper from Nottingham has been given a six-month suspended sentence, after pleading guilty to selling illegal cigarettes at his shop.
Reben Mohammed, 27, of High Street, Stanton Hill, in Nottingham was caught selling illegal and counterfeit cigarettes on two occasions by Nottinghamshire County Council’s trading standards officers.
Mohammed lived above his shop, which has now closed.
Mansfield Magistrates’ Court heard that police officers initially were called to the shop earlier in 2015 to investigate an attempted break-in.
The officer who went to the shop alerted trading standards officers, who recovered 1,080 cigarettes and a quantity of counterfeit cigarettes. They also recovered a small amount of tobacco, which was genuine – but duty had not been paid on it, the court heard.
During interview, Mohammed admitted being the owner of the shop and selling the cigarettes – but told officers he would stop immediately. However, in August, officers made a test purchase at the shop – and following a search of the premises, recovered 540 cigarettes and 150g of tobacco.
The haul included cigarettes that would not self-extinguish – which are classed as unsafe and therefore counterfeit cigarettes.
Under interview, Mohammed said he was planning to return the products to the man who had sold them to him.
However, in court Mohammed admitted two charges of possession, custody or control in the course of a business certain goods, “with a view to selling, offering, or exposing for sale or distributing the said goods without the consent of the proprietor of the said registered trade mark, contrary to Section 92(1)(c) of the Trade Marks Act 1994”.
He also pleaded guilty to a further two charges of possessing for supply cigarettes which were dangerous products under Regulation 2 of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005 contrary to Regulation 8(1) of the General Product Safety Regulations 2005.
Mohammed admitted a further two charges of failing to comply with the Safety Regulations for the purpose of Section 11 of The Consumer Protection Act 1987 contrary to Section 12(1) of the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
He was sentenced to a total of six months in prison suspended for 12 months and was ordered to carry out 250 hours of unpaid work in the community, with £240 in costs imposed.
Committee Chairman for Community Safety at Nottinghamshire County Council, Councillor Glynn Gilfoyle, said:
“We are very pleased with the outcome of this case – we are determined to keep up our war on illegal tobacco and this is another good result in court. It is a very important area of our work.
“Genuine cigarettes have a safety feature which means they extinguish if they are left unattended – counterfeit cigarettes do not have this feature.
“Nationally, the cost of smoking-related house fires is estimated at £507 million per year.”
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