Shop-owner is spared prison after fags raid

Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Mansfield Magistrates Court.

An Ashfield shop was raided by Trading Standards officers for selling counterfeit cigarettes following tip-offs from customers.

Nottinghamshire Trading Standards raided Andrews News and Booze, in Low Street, Sutton, last November, and confiscated hundreds of pounds worth of cigarettes and rolling tobacco.

Former owner Shakhawan Salah was given a four-month suspended sentence by Mansfield Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 18th September.

The 36-year-old, from Lower Street, Sutton, admitted six charges of possessing goods with false trade marks, and supplying goods prohibited by safety regulations.

The court was told that the native Iraqi was caught in the sting while he was already involved in court action for similar offences.

Defenders said Salah had not fully understood that he was breaking the law.

Shop assistant Ilona Rudminaite (27) of York Street, Sutton, was given a 12-month conditional discharge, for selling the goods over the counter.

A third man from the Derby area failed to appear at the hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Prosecutor Nicola Schofield told the court: “The cigarettes did not contain health warnings and they can be dangerous because they do not burn out like licenced cigarettes.”

She added that counterfeit cigarettes also damage a Government pricing strategy, aimed as discouraging people from smoking by making tobacco expensive.

Trading standards first visited the shop on 14th November and bought a single packet of what appeared to be Mayfair cigarettes, which proved to be counterfeit.

They returned to the premises a week later with the support of police officers and confiscated a range of counterfeit tobacco, the court heard. Salah initially denied any wrong-doing but admitted the offences after confiscated CCTV footage showed the illicit goods being sold.

Both Salah and Rudminaite were told to pay £190 towards prosecution costs.