Huge fine over secret stash of illegal cigarettes in Lincoln shop

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A Lincoln man has been prosecuted for the possession and supply of illegal cigarettes at a shop in the city.

Taha Rashid Mahmoud, 34, from Shuttleworth House, has been convicted after Lincolnshire Trading Standards conducted three inspections at the Super Sam shop on Lincoln High Street, where he is the leaseholder.

He has been handed a £7,678 fine, an £85 victim surcharge and been told to carry out 180 hours of unpaid work within 12 months.

During inspections in July and October 2018, and February 2019, a large amount of illegal cigarettes and tobacco were found on the premises, including concealed in a shelving unit, in a chimney breast, and underneath a kitchen cupboard.

Trading Standards, Police licensing officers and trained Wagtail dogs carried out the inspection. Photo: Lincolnshire County Council

Immediately before the inspection in February 2019, Trading Standards carried out a test purchase at the shop and Mr Mahmoud himself sold the illegal products.

At Lincoln Magistrates Court on 9 January 2020, Taha Rashid Mahmoud was found guilty of 18 offences.

The illicit and counterfeit tobacco products will be destroyed.

Councillor Barry Young, executive member for community safety at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Possessing and selling illicit tobacco is a serious offence and we won’t tolerate it in Lincolnshire.

“Let this be a warning for those who choose to deal in illegal products that they will get caught and be prosecuted.

“Trading in counterfeit and illicit tobacco products not only puts lives in danger, but can encourage people – including young people – to smoke by providing a cheap, illegal source.”

Anyone with concerns about the sale of potentially counterfeit or illicit tobacco and cigarette sales can call the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0345 040506, or visit their website at www.citizensadvice.org.uk.

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