Shopkeeper caught selling illegal cigarettes sent home from court – after Trading Standards miss hearing

Crown Court, Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Crown Court, Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: Archant

A judge has made a £900 wasted costs order against Suffolk Trading Standards after it failed to send a lawyer to the sentencing hearing of a shopkeeper who sold illegal cigarettes and tobacco at knock-down prices.

Judge Rupert Overbury said he was “very disappointed” that no-one from Trading Standards had attended the hearing at Ipswich Crown Court today and apologised to the defendant Karzan Khalid and his legal team for their wasted journey.

He made a £900 wasted costs order against Suffolk Trading Standards but said it could appeal against the order at the rescheduled hearing of the case on November 1.

An earlier court hearing heard Trading Standards discovered Khalid was selling illegal cigarettes and tobacco at Sudbury Convenience Store last year after finding 124 packs of unsafe PECT cigarettes and 48 packs of unsafe NZ Superslim cigarettes.

Khalid, 38, of Sussex Road, Colchester, also admitted possessing fake Mayfair cigarettes, along with supplying 518 packs of cigarettes and 118 packs of tobacco in the wrong packaging and without NHS smoking cessation labels.

He accepted the same charges on behalf of his company, Dixie En Ltd, and a further charge of carrying on business with intent to defraud creditors.

The court heard officers seized the cigarettes and tobacco at the shop in East Street, Sudbury, on June 22 last year.

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Khalid was not on the premises at the time of the raid, which included the use of sniffer dogs and the confiscation of 83 packs of Marlboro Gold cigarettes, 43 packs of L&M, 87 packs of Mayfair, 83 packs of Golden Virginia tobacco and 35 packs of Amber Leaf.

Tests found the Mayfair cigarettes to be counterfeit, while the Golden Virginia and Amber Leaf tobacco were genuine, but came from outside the EU and did not carry health warnings.

The PECT and NZ Superslim cigarettes failed emission testing, making them unsafe.

CCTV showed barcodes being scanned for genuine cigarette and tobacco sales, but prices being keyed into the cash register for the unregulated products.

The court heard the father-of-one had been struggling financially and that “desperate times led to extreme measures”.

His firm was in the process of being wound up and he would be leaving the trade entirely to set up a car wash, the court heard.

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