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    Salisbury c-store owner sentenced for selling illicit tobacco

    Image from Wiltshire Council

    A Salisbury shopkeeper has been sentenced for selling illegal tobacco following a raid by Wiltshire Council’s Trading Standards team, in a case which also saw more than £100,000 worth of the product seized.

    At Salisbury Crown Court last week, Amang Mohammed of Southampton was given a 12-month prison sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to attend 10 rehabilitation requirement days. Mohammed traded as Bucuresti Mini Market, in Brown Street, Salisbury.

    According to Wiltshire Council, the tobacco supplied by Mohammed was not labelled with the required health warnings, was not in standardised packaging and the majority was also found to be counterfeit. Mohammed had previously pleaded guilty to 14 offences relating to the tobacco.

    Cllr Dominic Muns, Cabinet Member for Environment, said, “Our trading standards team is doing all they can to protect our residents from harm by prosecuting these traders and stopping these illegal sales from taking place.

    “In addition, counterfeit tobacco does not always meet the requirements to self-extinguish and cigarettes of this type have previously been linked to several deaths through house fires. It is not regulated or manufactured to the same standards as normal tobacco, often being found to contain higher levels of harmful substances, as well as chemicals which are not normally permitted. 

    “I hope that the sentences that have been imposed today send a clear message that we are taking these types of businesses seriously and sales of products such as these will not be tolerated in Wiltshire.”

    Illegal tobacco had previously been seized from Bucuresti Mini Market in 2020, for which Mohammed had received a written warning.  Officers raided the premises again in April 2023, where illegal tobacco was again found to be on display and hidden on the premises. 

    Officers found a set of car keys in a nearby wheelie bin for a vehicle belonging to Mohammed. More tobacco was found within the vehicle together with a key for a storage unit in Southampton. After entry was forced into the unit, a further large amount of tobacco was found. The value of the tobacco seized during this raid was valued at approximately £105,000.

    After further complaints were received that illegal tobacco continued to be sold from the premises, a test purchase was made by an undercover officer on 31 May 2023. Bank accounts showed that Mr Mohammed had received cash deposits in excess of £100,000 between July 2020 and April 2023 for illegal tobacco products.

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