‘We will always take action’ – Trading Standards react to shopkeeper’s suspended sentence

Leon Woods has been jailed for 20 months at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT

Leon Woods has been jailed for 20 months at Ipswich Crown Court Picture: ARCHANT - Credit: ARCHANT

A trading standards officer who led the prosecution against a Sudbury shopkeeper found guilty of selling illicit tobacco says the organisation “will always take action” against rogue sellers.

Shopkeeper Karzan Hamid Khalid pleaded guilty in court to a number of offences, as a result of supplying cigarettes and tobacco products which were unsafe, did not include the required health advice, and did not comply to packaging regulations or were counterfeit.

Despite a previous visit from Suffolk Trading Standards officers to advise him and remind him of his responsibilities as a shopkeeper, further intelligence was received about Khalid’s illegal activities at his Sudbury shop.

This led to another visit from officers, when a quantity of illicit tobacco was found and seized.

Richard Carr, the Trading Standards officer who led the case, said: “We will always take action against traders who persistently sell illicit tobacco, despite knowing of its illegality.

“Such products are often linked to serious organised crime, with large criminal networks behind them. They also bring an increased risk of fire as, unlike genuine cigarettes, they are not usually sophisticated enough to put themselves out.”

Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “This case is a great example of Suffolk Trading Standards ensuring that the public is protected.

“Suffolk County Council and our trading standards team will always act against shopkeepers who put their own profits above the health and safety of Suffolk residents. Sales of these illegal products also prevent valuable income from reaching genuine businesses.”

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Khalid received a suspended sentence of eight months for his dealings with illicit tobacco at his stores in Suffolk and Essex.

His company also received fines totalling £3,116 and he was ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

Anyone with information or who suspects anyone of selling illegal tobacco products can anonymously report suspicions to trading standards by calling 03454 040506.

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