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Central Bedfordshire Council news and press releases

More than 8,000 cigarettes seized in illegal tobacco operation

Wednesday, 14 October 2020

A Dunstable shop owner has admitted and been fined for selling illegal tobacco products for the second time.

In a case brought by our trading standards team, Ali Abdullah (at the time the owner) of Dunstable Mini Market appeared at Luton Magistrates’ Court and pleaded guilty to a number of offences relating to the supply of illicit tobacco.

It followed a complaint received from a member of the public about the sale of foreign labelled cigarettes at Dunstable Mini Market.

In November 2019, an inspection was carried out at the premises by our trading standards team; accompanied by Wagtail, a tobacco detection dog.

A search of the shop by the dog led to a stash of cigarettes and tobacco, hidden on top of a display cabinet. Empty packaging was also found in the storeroom; evidence that a large amount of tobacco had been on the premises. In total, 12 pouches of rolling tobacco and 162 packets of cigarettes were seized.

In court, Abdullah pleaded guilty to offences under the Fraud Act and specific tobacco-related offences. He was given a conditional discharge for 12 months and ordered to pay £1,120 towards costs.

Councillor Ian Dalgarno, our Executive Member for Community Services, said:

We would like to sincerely thank the member of the public who supplied us with the information which assisted us in securing this prosecution.

We take these types of complaints very seriously and any intelligence passed on to us will be investigated.

Businesses may be tempted to sell illegal tobacco to customers thinking they are getting the genuine product in a bid to make a bit of extra money. Not only is this illegal, but this is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

I’d encourage anyone who is concerned about illegal tobacco being sold in their area to report this to the team.

Anyone concerned that they have been sold counterfeit alcohol or illegal tobacco products should notify us by calling 0300 300 8642 or emailing trading.standards@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.