06:11PM, Tuesday 13 April 2021
A picture of illegal tobacco seized in the operation
A former corner shop owner has been fined £1,000 after police sniffer dogs discovered a stash of illegal tobacco at his store in Slough.
Slough Borough Council’s trading standards team visited Brothers Pan Corner Limited, Stoke Poges Lane, in February 2019 and carried out a test purchase where they received illegally packaged tobacco.
A week later officers returned with Thames Valley Police tobacco sniffer dogs who found a haul of illicit goods.
Trading standards officers seized 1,200 packs of cigarettes, 1,000 pouches of smokeless tobacco and 60 pouches of hand rolling tobacco in the operation.
Much of the seized goods had either non-English labelling, non-statutory health warnings or was in non-plain and branded packaging.
The director of the business at the time, Mohammed Imran Naseer appeared at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Friday.
He admitted 11 charges of being in possession of the illegal tobacco between February 8 and February 15, 2019.
Naseer, of High Street, Gloucester, was fined £1,000 by magistrates, ordered to pay £4,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £110.
Dean Cooke, senior trading standards officer, said: “This is a welcome result for the trading standards team.
“Possessing illegal tobacco may appear to be a victimless crime. However, it is the genuine law abiding traders of Slough that suffer, as they are continually being undercut by unscrupulous competitors.
“We can only have a level playing field when all the businesses in the borough meet their legal obligations.”
He added: “We hope this will serve as a very real warning to others selling illegal goods in the borough we have a zero tolerance to this kind of behaviour.
“The council will pursue prosecutions and the financial punishments can be considerable.
"We will continue to monitor and act on intelligence regarding illegally imported tobacco being sold to the public.”
The case was delayed considerably from the date of discovery to the court hearing due to the pandemic.
The candidates standing in the upcoming Thames Valley Police and Crime Commissioner election have outlined their priorities for policing in the region.