Sutton shop workers prosecuted for possessing counterfeit cigarettes

COURT: Court Case
COURT: Court Case

Three Ashfield shop workers were prosecuted for possessing counterfeit cigarettes at Mansfield Magistrates Court on Tuesday (2nd September).

Hersh Mohammed, 37, of Outram General Store, Outram Street, Sutton, pleaded guilty to two offences against the Trade Marks Act 1994 and the Consumer Protection Act 1987.

Sorin Hussainias, 32, also of Outram General Store, also pleaded guilty to two offences against the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Both men received a combined £470 fine, £330 costs and a £45 victim surcharge.

Mohammed was arrested on 19 August for being in possession of 1,060 cigarettes and 400g of hand rolling tobacco that were either counterfeit or did not contain the legally required health warnings and labelling.

Hussanias was arrested the following day for being in possession of 1,060 illicit cigarettes, which were located in juice containers and by the till area of the shop by Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards team.

Prior to these raids, two test purchases were undertaken at the shop by trading standards officers who were sold counterfeit cigarettes on both occasions.

The shop was also raided in June when 1,140 illicit cigarettes and 850g of illicit rolling tobacco were found under a kitchen sink and hidden behind toilet rolls.

In a separate case also heard at the court, Behnam Rafiei, 40, of Maytree Close, Oakwood, Derby, who works at Hucknall Mini Market on High Street in Hucknall, pleaded guilty to two offences against the Trade Marks Act 1994.

Trading standards officers seized 5,240 illicit cigarettes and 2,350g of illicit hand rolling tobacco during a raid of the shop on 19 August.

Rafiei received a six month conditional discharge, £100 costs and a £15 victim charge.

Councillor Alice Grice, Vice-Chair of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Community Safety Committee, said: “It is impressive that our trading standards officers have forced through these prosecutions only two weeks after the raids have taken place.

“We set up our task force to take swift action against shopkeepers and shop employees who are caught in possession of or selling counterfeit tobacco products. “Illicit cigarettes do not contain the correct legal health warnings and conflict with the Government’s pricing policy on tobacco, which aims to encourage smokers to give up.

“They also reduce tax revenue for vital public services such as the NHS and social care.”

Anyone with information on counterfeit cigarettes, call Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506.