An ongoing operation by Staffordshire Trading Standards to combat the sale of illicit and counterfeit tobacco has secured a conviction following the seizure of a quantity of cigarettes and rolling tobacco.
On 13 December 2017, Officers accompanied by a specialist dog handler entered Smakus shop at 15 Derby Street, Burton and found a large quantity of Marlboro Gold cigarettes.
Dilshad Karim Sharif, aged 45 from 9 Ashley Court Burton-upon-Trent was serving behind the counter and following a search officers found a further quantity of illicit cigarettes on his person.
On 17th January 2018 a further 200 Pect Red cigarettes and 2x50g Amber Leaf were seized together with CCTV recorder. On an additional visit to the premises On 3rd November 2018 officers also made a test purchase of 20 Pect cigarettes costing £3.00.
Sharif was ordered to pay £200 in costs. He was also sentenced to one day imprisonment which he didn’t have to serve because he had spent time on remand following his arrest when he returned to the country from Iraq.
Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards leader Gill Heath said:
“The sale of counterfeit and illicit tobacco is a crime which damages our communities and harms legitimate businesses and we will take action against traders who knowingly sell it.
“The availability of illegal tobacco in Staffordshire is no greater than anywhere else but does present a significant problem. In the UK, it is estimated that about 1 in 10 of all cigarettes and half of all hand-rolling tobacco are not duty paid. The illegal trade in tobacco also has strong links to organised crime and illicit tobacco can have a devastating effect on health.”
Anyone with information about the sale of counterfeit tobacco and cigarettes in Staffordshire should call the Fight the Fakes hotline on 01785 330356 or www.staffordshire.gov.uk/fakes. People can also contact Crimestoppers anonymously at www.crimestoppers-uk.org/ or 0800 555 111.