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Former shopkeeper given suspended jail sentence

 
Created on 21/01/2017 @ 10:22
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A former Newtown shopkeeper has narrowly avoided jail after selling illicit tobacco products at his store.

Bawan Kadir Husseini, former manager of The Famous Shop on Shortbridge Street, was successfully prosecuted by Powys County Council’s Trading Standards Service as part of Operation Date, the ongoing operation to combat the supply of illegal tobacco in the county.

The defendant pleaded guilty to nine charges in total, four charges under Trade Marks Act 1994, four charges under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and one charge under the Fraud Act 2006 for running a fraudulent business.

At a hearing at Llandrindod Wells magistrates heard that as part of the investigation, officers seized a large quantity of illegal tobacco from the defendant’s property on the 8 December 2015 that included 85 packets of cigarettes and 52 packs of tobacco, all of which did not have the prescribed warning and labelling.

Magistrates also heard that test purchases were also carried out in April and June 2016 at the shop where a 50g packet of tobacco and five packets of tobacco were successfully purchases and found to be counterfeit.

Mr Husseini was sentenced to one year in prison, suspended for 18 month by magistrates with 200 hours of unpaid work.

He was ordered to pay £2,500 costs and a £140 victim surcharge.

Cllr John Powell, Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said: “Combating the supply of counterfeit and illegal tobacco is one of the priorities of our Trading Standards Service.  We are looking to increase the understanding of the impact it has amongst smokers and local communities when shadow activities occur with illicit products.

“This should also serve as a warning to those involved in the supply and sale of illegal tobacco that we will take the appropriate action with partners that is necessary to combat this.”

Clive Jones, the council’s Professional Lead for Trading Standards, said: “Over the past two years we have seized nearly 50,000 illegal cigarettes and 50kg of illegal tobacco as part of Operation Date.

“The supply of illegal tobacco bypasses government tobacco control measures, such as not selling tobacco to children.  This makes it more likely that youngsters will start smoking and counterfeit products often contain high levels of lead and cadmium.

“Traders often hide product using devises to try and prevent detection and we now often use sniffer dogs to assist detection.”

Photo: Some of the illicit tobacco found hidden at the Newtown shop.

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