Leamington shop owner prosecuted for possession of illegal cigarettes

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A Leamington shop owner has been fined for possessing illegal cigarettes and rolling tobacco with the intent to supply them to the public.

At Nuneaton Magistrates Court recently, Alan Mohammad Rashid, the owner of Leamington Mini Market in Southborough Terrace, off Brunswick Street, pleaded guilty to 30 offences relating to the possession for supply of cigarettes and tobacco not in standardised packets and not having the correct health warnings, contrary to Regulation 15 of the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 and Regulation 48 of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.

He was fined £150 for the first standardised packaging offence and £200 for the first health warning offence.

He was also ordered to pay £855 costs and a £30 victim surcharge - a total of £1,235.

Warwickshire County Council Trading Standards Officers, acting on intelligence that the store was selling illegal - counterfeit and non-duty paid -cigarettes and tobacco, visited Mr Rashid's shop with specialist sniffer dogs.

A box discovered at the rear of the shop contained 1480 cigarettes. Brands included Marlboro, Richmond and Benson and Hedges. A further 450g of hand rolling tobacco was handed over in a bag from behind the counter.

None of the cigarettes or tobacco was contained in plain packaging as required by law and did not display the required health warnings.

Illegal cigarettes are typically sold for around £4 or 5 per packet - half the price of a genuine packet.

Warwickshire County Councillor Andy Crump, Portfolio Holder for Community Safety said: “I’m delighted that Warwickshire Trading Standards is taking this tobacco enforcement action. The sale of illegal tobacco damages the health of children and young people, deprives the Government of taxes that could be spent on the NHS and threatens the livelihoods of legitimate traders.”

Most smokers take up the habit before they reach the age of 18 and the sale of cheap illegal cigarettes, often at pocket money prices, makes it easier for children and young people to buy tobacco and get hooked on a product that kills 1000 Warwickshire residents each year.

Mr Rashid was not represented.

For more information and support to quit smoking in Warwickshire click here.