Two Ipswich men sentenced for illegal tobacco offences

Published

Two men from Ipswich have been sentenced on 8 August 2017 for offences relating to the sales and storage of illegal tobacco.

Mohammed Raoof, 31, of Gaye Street and Pavel Ibrahim, 26, of Franciscan Way both appeared at Ipswich Magistrates Court charged with breaching the 1994 Trade Marks Act, General Product Safety Regulations and Tobacco and Related Products Regulations.

Both men pleaded guilty to all offences. Raoof was sentenced to 200 hours community service and fined £500 and also ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge. Ibrahim was sentenced to 100 hours community service and ordered to pay an £80 victim surcharge.

Raoof was arrested after 20,600 illegal cigarettes and 143 packets of rolling tobacco were seized by Suffolk Trading Standards at his home

Samples of the seized tobacco were sent to the relevant trade mark holders and were also tested for safety measures. A total of 6,680 cigarettes were found to be counterfeit and infringing the trademarks Regal, Richmond, Winston and Marlboro while 2,880 cigarettes failed to have any self-extinguishing protection built into them.

The seized items also failed to bear health warnings in English.

Following a search of IKI Grocery Store in Franciscan Way, Ipswich, in December 2016, Ibrahim was charged. Suffolk Trading Standards discovered 2,500 illegal cigarettes and 57 packets of hand rolling tobacco. Ibrahim was working at the premises at the time of the search and provided a false name, Hawkar Osman.

Analysis of in-store CCTV footage showed Ibrahim making 11 sales of illicit tobacco from under the counter in less than an hour and a half, before restocking the illegal tobacco under the counter.

More than 700 cigarettes were found to be infringing the trademarks Regal, Richmond, Winston and Marlboro and 900 cigarettes failed to have any self-extinguishing protection built into them. Almost all of the cigarettes found did not have any health warnings in English.

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

“Suffolk Trading Standards take the sale of illegal cigarettes very seriously. These individuals were flouting the law and I thank the Trading Standards team for carrying out this successful investigation.

“Illegal cigarettes are sold at pocket money prices and we need to protect children and young people from being able to access cigarettes  and then becoming addicted. We also need to protect the public purse as these illegal cigarettes avoid the tax revenue be paid.

“Shop keepers found to be storing, distributing or selling illegal tobacco could face losing their alcohol licence if they hold one as well as being prosecuted.

“I would urge anyone who is aware of a premise selling illegal tobacco or cigarettes to report it in confidence by contacting Trading Standards on 0345 4040 506.”