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Prison sentence for Leominster shopkeeper selling illegal tobacco

Nawzad Sherzad Said formerly of Flat 3, 25 Broad Street, Leominster was sentenced at the Crown Court sitting in Hereford on 19 November 2013, to a term of four months imprisonment in a case taken by Herefordshire Council’s trading standards service.

His honour Judge Juckes QC, sentencing, told Mr Said, 26, that despite being of previous good character he been caught committing serious offences and had also told lies during interview. He went onto say the most serious aspects of the case were his undermining of legitimate sales outlets in Leominster and the fact that much of the tobacco and cigarettes was counterfeit. He stated a deterrent sentence was necessary.

Joanna James prosecuting for trading standards told the court that Mr Said had opened the Istanbul Mini Market in Drapers Lane, Leominster in January this year and quickly started selling smuggled non duty paid tobacco and cigarettes from under the counter. Trading standards officers carried out a number of test purchases and then with the assistance of West Mercia Police executed a warrant for both the shop and owners flat in April. Illicit tobacco and cigarettes were found in both premises amounting to over 94,000 cigarettes and 8kg of hand rolling tobacco with a street value in excess of £15,000. 

Mike Pigrem, the council’s head of trading standards and licensing said: “The sale of illicit and counterfeit tobacco is fast becoming rife within the country and Herefordshire is no exception. Not only does it adversely affect legitimate businesses, who are struggling within the current economic climate, it also exposes smokers to increased health risks through inferior products. Millions in tax revenues are lost each year to the exchequer and their low cost encourages increased and continued uptake throughout the community."

Anyone with information on people dealing in illegal tobacco products can contact trading standards in confidence on 01432 261761. 

Tags: Business and economy, Your council