Lincoln shopkeeper caught selling fake cigarettes to undercover cops

A shopkeeper who was caught selling counterfeit cigarettes has been given a suspended sentence at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court.

Karwan Aziz Hussain sold non-duty paid Marlboro Gold cigarettes to undercover officers at International Foods on Portland Street in Lincoln in October 2014.

Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police raided the premises a month later and found over 25,000 cigarettes and 114 packets of tobacco.

These were all non-duty paid, and a number of the cigarettes were counterfeit.

Hussein was given an eight week custodial sentence suspended for one year, as well as 250 hours of unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay fines and costs of £1,080.

Dan Brown, senior trading standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “In this case, we found out that the shop was selling these cigarettes by a routine test purchase.

“Mr Hussein sold us a pack of 20 Marlboro Gold for £5. These cigarettes currently retail for £9.16 – so this immediately aroused our suspicion. We then went back, raided the premises and obviously found a lot more.

“The products were seized as they were counterfeit or non-duty paid. A number of them were actually unsafe.

“Retailers have a duty to understand how the law applies to them – and how they should follow it to ensure the safety of their customers.

“As Trading Standards Officers, we aim to create a fair and equitable trading environment for all, so we’re here to protect consumers and genuine retailers selling genuine products and crack down on those who don’t.

“Counterfeit cigarettes are often more harmful to health as they can contain a higher level of toxic chemicals and are more dangerous as they do not burn out if left unattended like genuine products. This is why our work is so vital and we will never hesitate to take action against these criminals.”

To report the sale of counterfeit or fake cigarettes, contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.