The owner and shop assistant of a Lincoln shop have been prosecuted for selling counterfeit tobacco.
Mr Saeed, the shop owner, and Ms Torkaska, the shop assistant at Foods 4 You on Portland Street pleaded guilty to all charges this week at Lincoln Magistrates Court.
The prosecution was brought after raids by Lincolnshire Trading Standards, HM Revenue and Customs and Lincolnshire Police in January 2013.
The multi-agency team, with help from Ozzie, a tobacco detection dog and its handler, found in secret concealments:
- 900 grams of Amber Leaf hand rolling tobacco
- 550 grams of Original Virginia hand rolling tobacco
- 1.15 kilograms of Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco
- 3,020 cigarettes
The items had no duty paid and didn’t display the correct written or pictorial health warnings. A number of the seized goods were also counterfeit.
Mr Saeed received an 8 week custodial sentence suspended for 12 months, 80 hours unpaid work requirement and was ordered to pay Lincolnshire County Council’s full cost of £1,464.
Ms Torkaska also received an 8 week custodial sentence suspended for 12 months. She received an 80 hours unpaid work requirement and was ordered to pay £500 towards legal costs due to her means.
Ian Newell, service manager at Lincolnshire County Council, commented: “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.
“We know that 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 won’t hesitate to take action against these criminals.”