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Bradford
Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Tobacco dealer in Huddersfield sentanced for selling illicit cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco

On the 4 August 2023, Mr Tariq Ameen from Huddersfield appeared at Kirklees Magistrates Court for selling illicit cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco from his business, Food Plus – Pewex, 229A Bradford Road, Huddersfield, HD1 6EW.

Mr Ameen pleaded guilty and was issued a fine of £120 with a victim surcharge of £48 and ordered to pay £400 towards the costs of West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service (WYTSS).

The premises was known to WYTSS with the Service having received complaints about the premises supplying illicit and duty free tobacco.

On 18 July 2022, an inspection visit was conducted at the store by Trading Standards officers following intelligence received about the sale of illegal tobacco. The defendant, Mr Ameen was working at the store and confirmed it was his business.

Closed display unit inside which the illegal cigarettes were stored
Image: West Yorkshire Trading standards

Illegal cigarettes were found hidden in a sweet display unit in the store and in a rear store room. The total amount seized was 47,140 cigarettes.

The total street value of the seizure is around £12,000, resulting in a loss of excise duty of around £17,000. The seized illicit tobacco products were a mix of counterfeit and smuggled items, did not bear the statutory health warnings, were not in the standardised packaging and were non duty paid.

The Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health Programme, funded by the five Public Health departments, is helping people to stop tobacco use for good by educating the public and by investigating traders who supply cheap and illicit tobacco. The initiative uses multi-agency enforcement and community marketing campaigns to tackle the problems of the illicit trade.

To date the programme has taken more than 11 million illicit cigarettes and 3 tonnes of illicit hand rolling tobacco off the streets of West Yorkshire. With more inspections planned in the coming weeks, these figures are set to increase. Training sessions with thousands of members of the public and hundreds of front line professionals have been delivered to raise awareness about the dangers and wider criminality associated with the supply of illicit tobacco.

Linda Davis, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Manager said, “Smoking rates in the UK are declining. Reducing the supply and demand of illegal tobacco is one important element of a comprehensive approach to tackling tobacco harm in communities. Members of the public should recognise the adverse health, economic and social impacts of the illicit trade of tobacco products, including the linkages with human trafficking and organised  crime gangs.”

Councillor Habiban Zaman, Member of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards said, “All tobacco – both legal and illegal – kills half of all long term smokers. Children and young smokers are often targeted by people who sell illegal cigarettes, making it even easier for them to get hooked on smoking. The people making money out of this do not care who they sell to.”

If you need to report a trader selling cheap and illicit tobacco please contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline: 0808 223 1133 anonymously.

Anyone wanting help to quit can find their local Stop Smoking Service at

www.nhs.uk/better-health/quit-smoking/

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