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Some of the seized illicit cigarettes and tobacco

Sniffing out illicit tobacco

The director of Geet Ghar shop in Osborn Street, Whitechapel, has been found guilty of possessing thousands of pounds worth of illicit tobacco at Thames Magistrates’ Court.

Mohammed Razual Karim pleaded guilty to the charges in court which arose after Tower Hamlets Council’s Consumer and Business Regulations team visited the premises in August last year. With the assistance of a sniffer dog they found 1,704 packets of illicit cigarettes and 20 pouches of illicit tobacco with an estimated sales value of £13,000 hidden away around the premises.

Mr Karim was fined £1,000 and ordered to pay £2,823 in costs as well as a victim surcharge of £100 for the offence under the Consumer Protection Act 1987. He told the court that he would pay sums at a rate of £100 per week until the fines were cleared. A collection order was also made so that the court can pursue action against him should he default on his payments.

Dave Tolley, Head of Consumer and Business Regulations at the Council, said: “This large amount of tobacco products was seized thanks to our hardworking team with support from sniffer dogs. We hope the success of this case will act as a deterrent to those who feel they can operate above the law.”

Director of Public Health at Tower Hamlets Council, Dr Somen Banerjee added: “Cigarettes that are sold illicitly are not properly inspected and do not carry appropriate health warnings which play an important role in increasing awareness of the health risks associated with smoking. By quitting smoking you not only improve your health but those of people around you who would otherwise be exposed to the toxins and poisons in second hand smoke.”

If you suspect someone of illegally trading in the borough, you can contact Tower Hamlets Consumer and Business Regulations on 020-7364 5008.


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