Bolton Council has welcomed the successful prosecution of a newsagent who was caught in possession of illegal cigarettes for supply.
Zeashan Muhammad Din was given a 14 month community order with 70 hours of unpaid work at Wigan & Leigh Magistrates’ Court last month following a raid by officers from Bolton Council’s Regulatory Services team in March 2019.
Officers visited AHZ News in Bolton, which is owned by Mr Din, after receiving intelligence that illegal cigarettes were being sold at the premises and uncovered packets of cigarettes found to be illegal to sell in the UK.
Illicit tobacco is the term used to describe cigarettes and loose tobacco which are not in approved UK packaging and does not carry required health warnings.
The items were seized by officers and sent away for testing where they were proven to be illegal and a prosecution case against the shop owner was prepared.
At Wigan Magistrates Court, Mr Din pleaded guilty to offences under The Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations and the Trade Mark Act.
Mr Din, who has previously been convicted of this offence, was also ordered to pay £2,000 costs and a £85 victim surcharge.
Cllr Hilary Fairclough, Bolton Council Executive Cabinet Member for Regulatory Services said: “This case was brought to court thanks to the joint work of council officers and the police. We hope this prosecution sends a clear message to any retailers in Bolton who are trading in these illicit products.
“Tobacco sold in the UK must comply fully with packaging regulations. This means it must be in plain packaging and carry the appropriate health warnings. The trade in illicit tobacco, illegally brought in from abroad, poses even greater health risks than legal products.
“The council will not hesitate in taking legal action against retailers who don’t comply with the law.”
If you have any information regarding illegal tobacco sales in Bolton, you contact the trading standards team on firstname.lastname@example.org. Your personal details will be kept confidential.