Man jailed over possession of £23k worth of illegal cigarettes

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A MAN has been jailed for 15 weeks after admitting possessing an illegal haul of cigarettes worth £23,000.

Bilal Jabar of Warrior Gardens, St Leonards was successfully investigated and prosecuted by East Sussex County Council’s Trading Standards service.

Eastbourne Magistrates heard on Friday how the 35-year-old had previously received a caution in 2012 for a similar offence while working in Ryan’s Minimart in London Road, St Leonards on Sea.

Rupert Clubb, director of economy, transport and environment, said: “This is a boost for the prosperity of local traders whose honest business practices are unfairly affected by the unscrupulous trade in illegal tobacco.

“The tobacco was both duty evaded and of unknown origin and manufacture.”

The service thanked Sussex Police for their assistance during the investigation and urged consumers and businesses to report any similar issues to Trading Standards on 0345 608 0197. Mr Jabar is appealing against his sentence. Tobacco fraud costs the government around £1.8 billion a year.