A former Walsall retailer has been fined following the discovery of illicit tobacco at his store.
The products were discovered at APO Pleck Supermarket Ltd in Walsall, of which Ramen Amini was a director, during a routine advisory visit by Trading Standards officers in August 2018.
According to Walsall Trading Standards officers, they witnessed Amini throwing items under the counter which on investigation were found to be packets of illegal tobacco. A further search of the premises revealed a box and black bin liner containing large quantities of cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco.
They recovered a mixture of counterfeit, non-duty paid or illicit cheap white cigarettes which were incorrectly packaged and did not carry the correct UK health warnings.
In total, officers seized 6,000 illegal cigarettes and over 1kg of illicit hand-rolling tobacco.
Amini appeared before Birmingham Magistrates Court on 10 January following the issuing of two warrants for his arrest being made due to previous failures to attend Court. He pleaded guilty to all 12 counts under The Trade Marks Act and was fined £120, ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £34 as well as a contribution to legal costs of £500.
Councillor Garry Perry, deputy leader for resilient communities said: “This investigation clearly demonstrates the persistence and continued efforts our Trading standards Team in partnership with WM Police go to to investigate and bring to justice the perpetrators involved in illegal trade.”
“The illegal tobacco trade is often led by organised crime groups and therefore this haul has meant that illicit items are taken out of circulation resulting in a real impact on the wider illegal trade network.”
“Money from the sale of such products often goes back into the organised crime network and funds further criminality such as the drug industry, people trafficking and gun crime.
“This makes it even more important that we are all vigilant and report any concerns about the genuine nature of products that we purchase to stop this taking place in our borough.”