Prosecution tackles illicit tobacco seller

A convenience shop owner has been convicted of possessing illicit tobacco for sale in his shop.

Acting on intelligence, officers from Bolton Council’s Trading Standards, and from Greater Manchester Police, visited the Plus Convenience Store in Farnworth in June 2017. A tobacco detection dog uncovered illicit tobacco hidden in two separate microwaves, a grill and in the boot of a black Jaguar XS parked at the back of the shop and registered to Abraham Adams.

The illicit tobacco was found not to be labelled correctly nor was it in plain packaging; the labelling and warnings were not in the prescribed form and so are not legal to sell in the UK. A portion of the tobacco when examined was found to be counterfeit.

On the day of the visit Mahdy Najim, who said that he was the owner of the shop was present and was unable to offer any assistance with locating the illicit tobacco. He admitted that they did sell it in the shop but then could not remember where it was located.

When formally interviewed Mr Najim said he only worked there for a few hours.

After examining his driving licence it was found that Mr Najim and Abraham Adams are the same person. He pleaded guilty to the offences and magistrates imposed a 12 month community order with 100 hours unpaid work.

It then came to light that under a different first name he had been convicted of several offences of breaching houses in multiple occupation regulations in London.

Magistrates therefore imposed a suspended jail sentence of 89 days. He was also ordered to pay £800 in costs, plus victim surcharge of £85.

“We are hitting these kind of offences and working with the police to target those selling these types of counterfeit goods,” said a council spokesperson.

“We’re grateful for the information we received which has helped us to prosecute in this case. I’d encourage anyone with such information to come forward to our trading standards so we can investigate.

“Selling illicit tobacco and other counterfeit goods is a serious crime which affects communities and legitimate businesses.”

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