Store owner receives suspended sentence and £3,000 fine for selling, supplying and storing illegal tobacco

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Shopkeeper, Karzan Hamid Khalid, has received a suspended sentence of 8 months for his dealings with illicit tobacco at his store in Suffolk.

His company also received fines totalling £3,116 and he was ordered to pay costs of £5,000.

Mr. Khalid pleaded guilty to a number of offences, as a result of supplying cigarettes and tobacco products which were unsafe, did not include the required health advice, and did not comply to packaging regulations or were counterfeit.

Despite a previous visit from Suffolk Trading Standards officers to advise him and remind him of his responsibilities as a shopkeeper, further intelligence was received about Mr. Khalid’s illegal activities at his Sudbury shop. This lead to another visit from officers, when a quantity of illicit tobacco was found and seized.

Essex Trading Standards officers were also acting on intelligence regarding another of Mr. Khalid’s shops, Reilly’s Newsagents in Colchester. Illicit tobacco was seized from these premises, along with the discovery of a concealed compartment used to hide the products.

Richard Carr, the Trading Standards Officer who led the case, said:

“We will always take action against traders who persistently sell illicit tobacco, despite knowing of its illegality. Such products are often linked to serious organised crime, with large criminal networks behind them. They also bring an increased risk of fire as, unlike genuine cigarettes, they are not usually sophisticated enough to put themselves out.”

Councillor Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for Environment and Public Protection, said:

If you are unsure about your tobacco products being genuine, their sale price is usually a good indication as illicit tobacco is considerably cheaper.

If the packaging of a product looks unusual or it is being sold on social media, it is likely to be illicit. If you have information or suspect anyone of selling illegal tobacco products, you can anonymously report your suspicions to Trading Standards by calling 03454 040506.