Oldham Council’s Trading Standards have prosecuted three people who were part of an illegal cigarette selling swindle involving a trap door.
On 22 February 2017, officers used statutory powers to break down the door at 216A Ashton Road, Oldham, and seized illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco not intended for the UK market.
The tobacco was stored in the residential address above Hussain Superstore and was passed down to the shop through a purpose made hole in the stairs.
Officers seized 3,900 illegal cigarettes and 700g of hand rolling tobacco.
Three defendants have been found guilty following a trail on 23 January 2018 at Tameside Magistrates Courts.
Mr Mohammed Ali (24) of Holborn Street, Rochdale, was sentenced to a 12 month Community Order with an unpaid work requirement of 150 hours
Mrs Iram Shehzadi (31) of Ashton Road, Oldham, was sentenced to a 12 month Community Order, with an 8 week curfew requirement (7pm to 7am) and will be required to wear an electronic tag.
Both Mr Ali and Mrs Shehzadi were charged £835 to pay towards prosecution costs.
Mr Qaisar Hussain (44) of Ashton Road, Oldham, was sentenced to a 12 month Community Order with an unpaid work requirement of 250 hours and was charged £1,360.
All tobacco seized has been forfeited and destroyed.
Cabinet member for Environmental Services, Councillor Fida Hussain, said: “This operation is a great example of intelligence-led, co-ordinated enforcement action between partners.
“Our priority is to protect members of the public from those people who are using criminal means to fund their lifestyle. Everything our residents buy should be safe and legal products’’
“These sentences show that the courts are supporting our stance and that those not complying with the law will be brought to justice and action taken”.
Anyone with information regarding the sale of illegal tobacco can do their bit and pass on information confidentially to Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 040506 or by visiting: http://keep-it-out.co.uk/anonymous-reporting/