Kettering shop owner given suspended sentence for illegal cigarette sales

Sniffer dog Yo-Yo found the tobacco products in a purpose-built hide in the rear of Maja Sklep NNL-171017-101206005
Sniffer dog Yo-Yo found the tobacco products in a purpose-built hide in the rear of Maja Sklep NNL-171017-101206005

The owner of a Kettering shop has been given a suspended prison sentence after being caught with more than 700 packets of illegal cigarettes.

Trading standards officers visited Maja Sklep in Rockingham Road following a test purchase.

Maja Sklep.

Maja Sklep.

Illegal tobacco products totalling 786 packets of cigarettes and 37 pouches of hand rolling tobacco were seized.

They were found concealed in bespoke hides by the tobacco detection dog, Yo-Yo.

Shop owner Azad Ahmadi was given an eight-week custodial sentence for supplying goods bearing unauthorised trade marks and a further two weeks for supplying tobacco products that were incorrectly labelled, all suspended for 12 months, at Northampton Magistrates’ Court.

He was also ordered to serve 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay full legal costs and a victim surcharge, totalling £1,499.

Cllr André González de Savage, county council cabinet member for strategic infrastructure, economic growth and public protection, said: “Yet again our trading standards officers have demonstrated that they will take action against anyone suspected of flouting the law by selling illegal tobacco.

“These sellers are also stealing from the taxpayer by avoiding paying duty and undermining legitimate traders making an honest living.

“I would urge anyone who is offered foreign-labelled cigarettes or tobacco for sale in suspicious circumstances to report it to us by calling the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555111.”

As part of the same operation test purchase visits were made to A&K Stores in Wellingborough Road, Northampton.

They found 112 packets of cigarettes and 25 pouches of hand rolling tobacco, some of which were counterfeit.

During a separate incident at the store in July, Northamptonshire Police found 381 packets of cigarettes and 16 pouches of hand rolling tobacco.

Arkan Shwan, the former owner of A&K Stores, appeared at Northampton Magistrates’ Court and was given a 10-week custodial sentence for supplying goods bearing unauthorised trade marks and a further two weeks for supplying tobacco products that were incorrectly labelled, both suspended for 12 months.

He was also ordered to serve 150 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay full legal costs and a victim surcharge, totalling £1,499.

Shwan, who had previously been warned about selling counterfeit and foreign-labelled tobacco, is no longer the owner of A&K Stores, having sold the business in October this year.