Shop owner fined for selling loose cigarettes to child

By Chris Young, Local Democracy Reporter

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Photo: iStock

A shop owner has been ordered to pay over £1,100 after a 15 year old girl was sold loose cigarettes during a test purchase.

Mariwan Tofiq Mustafa appeared at Bradford and Keighley Magistrates Court on Tuesday, pleading guilty to charges of selling cigarettes to a minor and selling loose cigarettes.

On 31 August 2019 Trading Standards sent the 15-year-old into Piotr I Pawel on Duckworth Lane, Bradford as part of a test purchase. A Trading Standards officer entered the store shortly after.

The officer watched as the girl was sold two loose cigarettes at £1 each.

The sale of single cigarettes is illegal regardless of the age of the purchaser.

They spoke to the man behind the counter and he identified himself as the defendant.

In court Mr Ayub, defending, said Mustafa, 31, denies that it was him who sold the cigarettes, saying the staff member must have given his details to the officer.

However, he admitted that as the owner of the business, it was his responsibility, and this was why he was pleading guilty.

Mr Ayub said the defendant took on the business in May 2019, and that “some months after there were still teething problems.

“All the proper procedures are now in place.”

He told Magistrates that the Covid lockdown had badly hit the business, adding: “He has not had the return he expected from the business, but he is determined to make a go of it.”

He was fined £233, told to pay costs of £927 and a £32 surcharge.

Trading Standards had said the test purchase took place due to previous complaints and allegations that the shop had been selling cigarettes to local children.

After the case David Strover, Trading Standards Manager – Business Compliance Team at West Yorkshire Trading Standards said: “The sale of non-prepacked cigarettes has been illegal for many years and it actively encourages minors to smoke, as it makes tobacco more affordable to children.  We will continue to take action against those who flout  the law and sell tobacco to minors.”

Bradford Councillor Sue Duffy, Deputy Chair of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards said: “It’s appalling that this shop has not only broken the law by selling single cigarettes but did so by selling to a 15 year old.

“I encourage the public to report any trader that is engaging in such criminal behaviour so that they can be brought to justice.”