Illicit cigarettes worth £280,000 seized in crackdown in Doncaster

Illicit cigarettes with a street value of £280,000 were seized in a crackdown in Doncaster.

Monday, 2nd December 2019, 12:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 3rd December 2019, 12:58 pm

During a six month Trading Standards operation in Doncaster town centre, over 47,000 packets of illicit cigarettes and tobacco were seized.

Six offenders, in separate prosecutions, pleaded guilty to offences accounting for the goods, which have a street value of £280,000.

The loss to the treasury, had the products been sold, would have been £330,000.

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Boxes of illicit cigarettes seized as part of a Doncaster Council-run operation

The operation culminated in a multi-agency day of action, which saw Asia and European Food City, International Food Store and Warszawa, all on Copley Road and Europa Mini Market, at Holmes Market, caught selling and storing illicit cigarettes.

They were either fake, did not comply with packaging requirements or were deemed likely to fail safety standards.

Sanah Mirza’s home in Edenthorpe was searched and in excess of 33,000 packets of cigarettes were found in his garage. Sheffield Crown Court ordered the illicit stash to be destroyed when Mirza, a worker at Asia and European Food City, pleaded guilty.

He was sentenced to 250 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £2,000.

Other individuals sentenced for offences stemming from the operation included Rizgar Aziz, of Europa Mini Market and Bahman Safee, of Warszawa, who both received suspended prison sentences.

Both were ordered to complete 120 and 180 hours unpaid work respectively, with Aziz also required to complete a rehabilitation programme to help change his behaviour.

Between them they were also ordered pay costs of £4255.72.

Bestoon Ali Mahmood admitted selling cigarettes at Asia & European Food City and was fined £1,080 when a previous similar conviction was taken into consideration, while Sarwan Mauloud, of International Food Store, was fined £180 and Ali Mahmoodpur, a worker at Europa Mini Market, was fined £200.

Dr Rupert Suckling, Director of Public Health at Doncaster Council, said: “The supply of cheap cigarettes is undermining the ongoing effort to get people to stop smoking, particularly young people who might then go on to become addicted to a habit that prematurely kills over half of its users.”

Peter Dale, the council’s Director of Economy and Environment, said: “Illicit trade has a significant negative impact on legitimate businesses that comply with the law.”