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Luton Borough Council

20/01/2023 - Luton shopkeeper in court for the sale of illicit tobacco

Mr Mohammed Abdul Harim, aged 50 of Teesdale Road, Luton, appeared before Luton Magistrates on 10 January 2023 regarding the sale of illicit tobacco from Daaniya’s Variety Store on Bury Park Road.

In 2021, six test purchases of non-duty paid and counterfeit cigarettes were made at the store. On 5 August 2021, officers from Trading Standards found 908 packs of non-duty paid cigarettes, 19 packs of hand rolling tobacco and 358 niche tobacco products. Further examination of the products indicated that some were counterfeit, whilst others were deemed unsafe as they would not self-extinguish if discarded. Mr Harim was interviewed under caution by Trading Standards. Four further test purchases were made after this interview in 2021.

Mr Harim pleaded guilty to all 15 charges against him. As director of Variety1 Store Limited, trading as Daaniya Variety Store, he was fined £80 alongside a victim surcharge of £95 and £620 in court costs. He received a 12 Month community order and is required to undertake 120 hours of unpaid work. The company Variety1 Store Limited was fined £12,000.06 with further court costs of £1,350. The final total for fines issued was £14,145.06.

Councillor Maria Lovell, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhood Services and Community Safety at Luton Council, said “Investigating and gathering information on the sale of illicit tobacco, shisha and vaping products across Luton is a matter of public safety. I would like to thank Luton Trading Standards for their latest successful prosecution”.

“Illicit tobacco is more dangerous than regulated tobacco. Its ingredients are unregulated and cigarettes do not extinguish in the same way as regulated products, increasing the risk of house fires. The sale of illicit tobacco is also often linked to wider organised criminal activity”.

“Not only does the sale of illicit tobacco evade tax and is unfair to honest traders, but its cheaper price maalso encourage young people to start smoking and others to continue to smoke”.

Landlords, whose tenants are engaged in the sale of illicit tobacco, will also be advised and investigated by Trading Standards. The aim of such measures is to improve the standards of trading within Luton. Businesses can also face closure. Anyone with information on premises and individuals selling and storing illicit tobacco in Luton can report in confidence here

© 2023 Luton Council, Town Hall, Luton LU1 2BQ