The Suffolk store sold illegal cigarettes and tobacco
A man has been fined more than Â£ 2,000 after raids on his shop on the coast found illegal cigarettes and tobacco.
Test purchases were made by Suffolk Trading Standards at Bargain Point, a convenience store on London Road North in Lowestoft, in October 2019.
Warning letters were then sent to the person named as owner over the sale of illegal goods, Ipswich Magistrates’ Court heard on Wednesday (July 7th).
Despite the warnings, police then raided the premises in April last year and found more illegal cigarettes and tobacco.
Laura Austin, prosecutor, said either the health warnings on the packages were not written in English or the package was not the right color or shade.
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She said, âWe can’t, these cigarettes are fake cigarettes. They can be fake, we just don’t know.
âAt the very least, they appear to have been bought overseas somewhere and do not comply with UK customs, and duties would not be paid on them in the normal way,â added Ms Austin.
She said the retail value of the tobacco seized was around Â£ 3,453.
Zafar Niazi, of Northampton, admitted selling tobacco but said he was not present at the time of the raids and left the store to others.
The offenses date from October 2019 and April 2020.
Niazi has since sold the store, the court heard.
The magistrates fined him a total of Â£ 2,010.
The court heard that Niazi had taken over the store in November 2018.
Mr Khalil, mitigating, said the accused was a man of good character who had taken over the store at the suggestion of a friend.
âWhat he didn’t realize was how often he would need to be at the store and how difficult it was to run a business,â the lawyer said.
The court also heard that due to Covid Niazi was unable to be at the store as often and had to participate in home schooling for his children in Northampton.
He moved to the UK in 2009 as a 15-year-old asylum seeker as his country was at war.
Mr Khalil said Niazi struggled for years but slowly adapted to his new surroundings, working in take-out food in Northampton.
The court fined him Â£ 800 for each of the two offenses, as well as Â£ 250 for prosecution costs.