King’s Lynn shop owner avoids prison after illegal cigarettes find

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The owner of a shop in Lynn has been handed a suspended jail sentence after illegal cigarettes and tobacco products were found at the premises.

Sarhad Salari, 29, the owner of Kubus East European Market on London Road, was given the six-month prison term, suspended for two years, at Norwich Crown Court last week.

He was also ordered to complete 300 hours of community service.

Salari had entered guilty pleas to a total of thirteen charges at a previous hearing which were: five counts of counterfeit tobacco products where the packaging of cigarettes depicted a registered trademark when the cigarettes were not that of the trademark owner, and eight counts of supplying tobacco products which did not contain the required combined health warnings in English.

It comes after a number of raids at the store found the illegal products there.

A spokeswoman for Norfolk County Council said: “The total amount of tobacco products seized amounted to a genuine product value of £5,430.”

She added: “During his determination the judge praised Trading Standards for their investigation and excellent summary of the evidence at court, stating that Mr Salari had no regard to the counterfeit nature of the products he supplied or the lack of duty paid to HMRC.

“After sentencing, the judge set out a timetable for the proceeds of crime financial investigation of any criminal benefit arising from this case the outcome of which will also inform any costs due to the council from the legal proceedings.”

She said as illegal tobacco was continually found at the premises, Trading Standards and Norfolk Constabulary asked West Norfolk Council on January 13 this year to review Salari’s premises alcohol licence, which was revoked.

This was part of a larger investigation by Trading Standards to counteract the sale of illegal tobacco products and ensure the health of consumers is not compromised.

Following the sentencing, Trading Standards officials have said they hope this prevents further criminality in terms of illegal tobacco products.

Brian Chatten, community safety and fair trading manager at Trading Standards, said: “There are unscrupulous retailers in the county who are making smoking more accessible to children by selling illegal tobacco at pocket money prices.

“Retailers who sell illegal tobacco are putting the health of the young people of Norfolk at even greater risk and are also supporting the organised crime gangs who we know are linked to this criminal activity.

“Hopefully this sentence will send a clear message to sellers of illegal tobacco and encourage local residents to come forward with information.”