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Luton Borough Council

07/04/2022 - Luton shopkeeper in court for selling illicit tobacco

Mr Abdul Shahid, of Luton, appeared before Luton Magistrates on the 1st April 2022 after being found to have sold illicit tobacco from his shop, A Family Food Limited, in Dunstable Road.

In May 2021, a test purchase for illicit tobacco was made at A Family Food Limited. During a follow up visit, officers from Luton Trading Standards found 21 packs of non-duty paid cigarettes and 2 packs of hand rolling tobacco. Trading Standards then visited the shop later that same day and found that the shop had re-stocked with a further 128 packets of illegal cigarettes. Examination of the products indicated that some were counterfeit and others unsafe as they would not self-extinguish if discarded. 

A further seizure of non-duty paid tobacco products was made from the shop, followed by two more test purchase sales. Items seized were found to be counterfeit.

Mr Shahid pleaded guilty to all charges against him. He was given a 12 month Community Order with 150 hours of unpaid work. He was also charged a total of £1345, for £1250 costs and a surcharge of £95.

In mitigation, Mr Shahid was given credit for an early guilty plea. However, the repeat offences committed by Mr Shadid were judged to be an aggravating factor. 

Councillor Hazel Simmons MBE, Leader of Luton Council, said “Luton Trading Standards are investigating and gathering information on the sale of illicit tobacco, shisha and vaping products across the town. Their work is essential in protecting the health, wellbeing and safety of our residents.”

“Selling illicit tobacco evades tax and is unfair to honest traders. Illicit tobacco is also more dangerous than regulated tobacco. As their ingredients are unregulated, cigarettes do not extinguish in the same way as regulated products. These unregulated products can significantly increase the risk of house fires. The cheaper price of illicit tobacco may also encourage young people to start smoking or continue doing so, whilst the sale of illicit tobacco is often linked to other organised criminal activity.” 

Landlords, whose tenants are engaged in the sale of illicit tobacco, will be advised and investigated by trading standards in relation to the proceeds of crime where sales continue, in a bid to crack down and improve standards of trading within Luton. Businesses can also face closure.

Anyone with information on any premises and individuals selling and storing illicit tobacco in Luton can report in confidence here

© 2022 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ