Illicit tobacco

Source: Luton Council

Mehmood Hussain of Clifton Foods, Dallow Road in Luton has been sentenced to 260 hours of unpaid work and has to more than £3,500 in costs, following his refusal to stop selling illicit tobacco despite previous warnings from Trading Standards.

Hussain appeared before District Judge Leigh- Smith at Luton Magistrates Court on Thursday 29 April 2021 after continuing to sell illicit tobacco despite being previously warned not to by the councils trading standards team.

According to Trading Standards, despite knowing that he would be appearing in court for the sale of illicit tobacco, he was found to still be selling the tobacco on two further separate occasions.

Hussain was sentenced to carry out a 12-month Community Order with 80 hours of unpaid work concurrent for offences committed on Wednesday 25 September 2019; a further 80 hours for the offence committed on Monday 21 October 2019 consecutive and 100 hours for offences on Tuesday 5 November 2019, totalling 260 hours of unpaid work. A surcharge of £85 and costs of £3,660 were awarded with 18 months to pay.

The judge warned Hussain that “if it was not for the fact previous, former good character I would be considering prison today”.

Cllr Jacqui Burnett, portfolio holder for public protection, said: “Not only are illicit tobacco sales a form of tax evasion and unfair to honest traders, illicit tobacco is more dangerous than regulated tobacco. Ingredients are unregulated and cigarettes do not extinguish in the same way as regulated products, increasing the risk of house fires. The cheaper price also may encourage people to start or continue to smoke. The sale of illicit tobacco also is often linked to other wider organised criminal activity.”