A Doncaster businessman has been prosecuted for possessing illicit tobacco with intent to supply it, following an investigation.
Aram Abdul Karim of Chequer Road, Doncaster, was prosecuted at Doncaster Magistrates Court for possessing illicit tobacco with the intent to sell it at his store, Thorne Mini Market, 8A Market Place, Thorne.
Trading Standards officers carried out a test purchase at the shop and were sold a packet of name-brand tobacco for only £5, which was later found to be counterfeit. Two further inspections then led to the seizure of 11,000 cigarettes 4kg of rolling tobacco.
The seized products are unacceptable for a number of reasons, council bosses said. because:
■ They did not display health warnings about the dangers of smoking.
■ Some of the products di not self-extinguish when not being smoked, which is a legal requirement that reduces the risk of fires.
■ The extremely low price that illicit tobacco is sold for encourages younger customers to buy it.
Mr Karim was ordered to pay £300 towards costs and carry out 300 hours of unpaid work for possessing the tobacco with intent to sell it.
Cabinet member for Communities and the Environment, Coun Chris McGuinness, said: “Anyone involved in selling illegal tobacco is encouraging people, including children, to smoke by providing a cheap source. These products are dangerous, and offenders need to understand that they will face consequences if they choose to sell them.
“I would urge anyone with information about the supply of illicit tobacco to contact us via the citizens advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.”
Director of Public Health, Dr Rupert Suckling, said: “All tobacco is harmful, but the supply of illegal cigarettes seriously undermines the drive to reduce smoking, fuels organised criminality and is often a gateway for young people to becoming addicted to a habit which prematurely kills over half its users.”