Shopkeeper caught selling counterfeit tobacco at his shop

A SHOPKEEPER has been caught selling illegal tobacco products.

Fahmi Omar Ahmed was handed a 12-month community order by magistrates after admitting selling the goods at his shop, Azmar, in London Road, St Leonards.

The 27-year-old was caught after Trading Standards officers inspecting the store in October last year found foreign cigarettes and rolling tobacco without the required health warnings and products made for the illegal tobacco market.

Ahmed, of William Road, St Leonards, was ordered to carry out 140 hours of unpaid work and to pay £200 costs, a £60 victim surcharge and £1,000 costs he still owes from a previous conviction three years ago.

The defendant, who was sentenced at Hastings Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday, June 4, was also ordered to forfeit for destruction the tobacco seized.

His conviction came just two weeks after Fazel Kader, 32, of Eversfield Place, St Leonards, was given a 12-month conditional discharge for selling illegal tobacco at his shop, Margo’s Market, in Claremont.

Cllr Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council lead member for economy, said: “This is another excellent result for Trading Standards and should stand as a warning to anyone tempted to try and make a quick buck by selling illegal tobacco.

“As well as depriving the exchequer of duties paid on legitimate products, selling illegal tobacco of uncertain provenance puts at risk the health of those who buy it, and places money into the hands of organised criminals. I’d strongly encourage anyone who knows or suspects this kind of activity to report it.”

Anyone who suspects illegal tobacco is being sold is asked to report it by calling Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111.