27,000 illegal cigarettes seized at shop in seaside town
- Credit: Archant
A man has been landed with a £6,000 bill and 240 hours of unpaid work after more than 27,000 illegal cigarettes were seized at a Clacton store.
Trading standards and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) raided the Pier Avenue store on three occasions between November 2017 and April 2019.
They seized more than 27,000 counterfeit and duty-evaded cigarettes, as well as nearly 23kg of hand rolling tobacco.
Tobacco detection dogs even found concealments in special hidden areas in the ceiling of the store’s toilet.
On Wednesday, November 25, Mawlud Sabir of Fairhead Road, Colchester pleaded guilty of the possession, with a view to supply, of illegal tobacco as a result of a Essex Trading Standards investigation into the activities at Pier Avenue Store.
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Sabir was sentenced at Colchester Magistrates’ Court to 240 unpaid hours work, as well as £6,000 costs and an £85 victim surcharge.
Essex Trading Standards brought the prosecution under The Trade Marks Act 1994 and The Tobacco and Related Product (Safety) Regulations 2016.
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Susan Barker, cabinet member for customer, corporate, culture and communities at Essex County Council, said: “Today’s sentencing sends a clear message to individuals that continue to break the law.
“Essex Trading Standards has an ongoing commitment to protecting the health of our residents and supporting legitimate businesses who are undermined by the sale of illegal tobacco.
“Counterfeit goods have acknowledged links to organised crime and cause a significant financial detriment to the wider economy.”