February 20, 2023 1.21 pm This story is over 14 months old

Prison for Spalding illegal cigarette seller caught for second time

Nearly 100,000 illegal cigarettes were seized

Haiman Fatah Mohamad, 36, of Waveney Close, Spalding was convicted after nearly 100,000 illegal cigarettes were seized by police and Lincolnshire Trading Standards.

Back in 2016, Haiman Fatah Mohamad was handed a suspended sentence after being found guilty of selling illegal tobacco from a shop on West Street in Boston. After his conviction, he moved away from the county.

He returned to Lincolnshire last year, this time opening a store on Spalding’s Commercial Road, called Euro Express.

Lincolnshire Trading Standards and Lincolnshire Police inspected the premises in May 2022 and found hides containing illegal products under the counter and under the floor in the storeroom. In total, 17,000 illicit cigarettes were found in the shop.

Outside, officers also searched Mohamad’s car, where they found a further 19,000 illegal cigarettes in the boot.

Police arrested Haiman Fatah Mohamad and, after initially giving a false address, his real home at Waveney Close was searched, unearthing 55,500 more illegal cigarettes.

All the cigarettes were a mixture of counterfeit and illegally-imported. All lacked the vital safety feature that allows them to self-extinguish, making them a huge fire risk.

At court on 30 January, Haiman Fatah Mohamad was sentenced to 16 months in prison, starting immediately.

Andy Wright, Principal Lincolnshire Trading Standards Officer, said: “With such a huge quantity of cigarettes found, Mohamad’s illegal operation had more tobacco stock than most large supermarkets, and it was clear that the sale of illicit tobacco was the only reason the business existed.

“One of the primary roles of Trading Standards is to support a fair-trading environment in which local businesses can thrive. As well as peddling his dangerous, illegal products, Mohamad’s store was attracting anti-social behaviour to the area and putting nearby law-abiding businesses at risk due to unfair competition.

“The sentence handed out by the judge takes into consideration his previous offending and the huge quantities involved. Despite the early guilty plea and the mitigation put forward by the defence, the offences were serious enough to warrant an immediate 16-month prison sentence.”

The court will hear a further application from Lincolnshire Trading Standards for confiscation of Mohamad’s ill-gotten gains under the Proceeds of Crime Act, later this year.

If you are concerned that a business is selling illegal cigarettes or vapes, you can report this to Trading Standards through the Citizens Advice consumer service. Visit www.citizensadvice.org.uk/consumer or call 0808 223 1133. Or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111, crimestoppers-uk.org.

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