Shopkeeper fined £200 after selling illegal cigarettes

A SHOPKEEPER who sold a packet of smuggled tobacco to trading standards officers has been fined £200.

Ako Mohammed was prosecuted after officers made a test purchase at the former Convenience Store in Brassey Parade, Eastbourne in October.

Mohammed sold them a single packet of rolling tobacco that did not carry the required health warnings.

The 30-year-old from London Road, St Leonards, pleaded guilty to the offence on a January 8 and was sentenced on February 12 at Hastings Magistrates’ Court.

The packet of tobacco sold did not comply with legal requirements – the health warning every cigarette packet should carry was not written in English and the packaging did not contain the required photograph.

East Sussex Trading Standards officers have recently had a number of successful convictions against individuals engaged in the fraudulent activity of the supply and sale of illegal tobacco within the county.

Councillor Rupert Simmons, ESCC’s lead member for economy, said: “Smoking is one of the major causes of illness and premature deaths in East Sussex.

“Illicit tobacco undermines the work of the stop smoking services and circumvents the controls on the supply of tobacco that protect children.

“Selling tobacco products at pocket money prices encourages people to smoke - particularly younger people which is of great concern.

“As well as costing us all in unpaid taxes, these products also put people’s lives at risk - because they are not subject to rigorous controls and checks, we have no idea what they contain.”

Mohammed’s £200 fine included costs and a surcharge.