CAUGHT: Alfreton shop owner selling illegal cigarettes

Smoking
Smoking

Thousands of illegal cigarettes have been seized from an ‘unscrupulous’ Derbyshire trader and the shop’s alcohol licence has been revoked.

Despite warnings dating back to June year licence holder and premises supervisor Amanj Mamni is no longer allowed to sell alcohol at Zabcia, High Street, Alfreton after illegal cigarettes were found during five different visits and test purchases.

The sale of tobacco products does not require a licence in the United Kingdom. However, a licence to sell alcohol can be revoked if criminal activity is found to be taking place on the premises.

Carol Hart, Derbyshire County Council cabinet member for health and communities, said: “This isn’t the type of action our trading standards team take lightly as we’re here to support businesses wherever possible.

“But when a business repeatedly flouts the law − despite receiving warnings − we’ll do all we can to protect the livelihood of legitimate traders.

“This should send out a clear message to others that it just isn’t worth taking the risk of selling tobacco illegally. Your business will be shut down.”

Evidence presented to Amber Valley Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee yesterday Tuesday, August 22 included:

•Retrieval of 200 illegal ‘Fest’ cigarettes from behind the shop’s counter - packets did not include legally-required health warnings

•The sale of 20 ‘Marlboro Gold’ cigarettes during a test purchase- they did not contain the necessary health warnings and had been concealed in a laptop bag

•A further seizure of 1,580 concealed cigarettes of a variety of brands which did not include health warnings

•The sale of counterfeit ‘Richmond’ cigarettes which did not contain health warnings and breached trade mark laws

•Seizure of 53 packets of cigarettes which didn’t meet ‘plain packaging’ requirements which came into force in May this year.

Councillor Hart added: “The UK is currently seeing an increase in the illegal sale and distribution of illicit tobacco.

This means unscrupulous traders are gaining an unfair advantage over those trying to earn a living fairly, by avoiding paying duty and being able to sell the product cheaper.

“The supply of illicit tobacco seriously undermines public health measures which are intended to reduce the harm and cost to society caused by smoking.”

Amanj Mamni had his licence to sell alcohol revoked at yesterday’s hearing. This takes effect after 21 days, during which time he has the right to appeal the decision.