Dunstable shop owner fined £2k after 8,000 illegal cigarettes seized by Trading Standards

Dunstable Mini-Market
Dunstable Mini-Market

A Dunstable shop owner has been convicted and fined for selling illegal tobacco products.

In a case brought by Central Bedfordshire Council Trading Standards, Ali Abdullah owner of the Dunstable Mini Market appeared at Luton Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday 8 October and received £2,190 in fines and penalties.

It followed a complaint received from a member of the public about the sale of foreign labelled cigarettes at Dunstable Mini Market. In March 2019 an inspection was carried out at the premises by our trading standards team.

During this search illegal tobacco was found under the till in a plastic crate, it contained packets of illegal cigarettes and rolling tobacco. Further items were found on and under the shelving around the till and in the storeroom.

All the items were seized and subsequently counted and catalogued – in total there were 152 pouches of rolling tobacco and 410 packets of cigarettes.

In court, Abdullah pleaded guilty to a total of three offences of selling illegal tobacco. He was fined £1152 (£382 for each offence), ordered to pay £1,000 and a £38 victim surcharge – a total cost to him of £2,190. The court also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the seized materials.

Central Bedfordshire Council’s Executive Member for Community Services, Cllr Ian Dalgarno, said: “We would like to sincerely thank the member of the public who supplied us with the information which assisted us in securing this prosecution. We take these types of complaints very seriously and any intelligence passed on to us will be investigated.

“Businesses may be tempted to sell illegal tobacco to customers thinking they are getting the genuine product in a bid to make a bit of extra money. Not only is this illegal, but this is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders.

“I’d encourage anyone who is concerned about illegal tobacco being sold in their area to report this to the team.”

Anyone concerned that they have been sold counterfeit alcohol should notify the team by calling 0300 300 8642 or emailing trading.standards@centralbedfordshire.gov.uk.