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    Northwich store fined over illicit tobacco products

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    A Northwich shop has been fined for selling counterfeit and illicit tobacco products following an investigation by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

    According to local reports, Chester Road Market in Northwich has been fined £6,000 after hundreds of products were seized from the shop, all of which failed to comply with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 and/or the Trademarks Act 1994

    Meanwhile, Sarbaz Waheedi Ahmdi, the sole director of business, has been given a 12-month community order in connection with the offences.

    “All businesses should be aware that it is their responsibility to ensure compliance with relevant legislation and non-compliance could result in stock being seized and destroyed, and, as in this case, prosecution,” said a council spokesperson.

    “Illegal tobacco supports other criminal activity and has many damaging effects on our local communities, as well as causing poor health. People may be tempted by the cheap price tag, but it’s worth considering the great cost to health, safety and community.”

    Products were misleadingly labelled as brands such as Marlboro and Richmond. Trading standards officers first raised concerns following test purchasing activity carried out in May and June 2022.

    An unannounced follow-up visit on July 5 resulted in the seizure of more than £3,000 worth of counterfeit tobacco products. The cigarettes seized had been falsely labelled as brands such as Richmond, Marlboro, Rothmans, Georgia Virgina, and Lambert and Butler.

    Also seized were 296 packs of illicit tobacco and six container packs of cigarettes which did not carry a combined health warning in English. On top of this, £500 worth of illegal vapes were seized, including brands such as Gorilla, Magic, Elux and Solo. The vapes were found to have nicotine liquid levels varying from twice to seven times the legal limit.

    Ahmdi was summoned to Chester Magistrates Court on Wednesday (3) where he was given a 12-month community order in connection with 10 offences. He was also ordered to complete 140 hours of unpaid work and pay £1,244 in surcharge and costs. The business itself was fined £6,000 as well as costs and a victim surcharge amounting to £3,130, all of which must be paid within 56 days.

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