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    Two Oldham shops fined following seizure of thousands of illegal cigarettes

    Ali General Store in Oldham. Photo: Google Maps via LDRS

    Thousands of illegal cigarettes were found in raids in Oldham after tip-offs from members of the public.

    After being told that tobacco was being sold ‘under the counter’ at Ali General Store on Pitt Street, officers from trading standards visited the convenience store with a specialist sniffer dog.

    During the visit in June 2019, a huge 14,640 illegal cigarettes were discovered and seized from the shop.

    The company director, Saqib Ali, of Pitt Street, pleaded guilty to two charges at Tameside Magistrates’ Court on June 24 this year under the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015.

    The 32-year-old was handed a £500 fine and ordered to pay £650 costs.

    Ali General Stores Ltd was given a £2,000 fine and told to pay £650 costs after a guilty plea to two charges under the same regulations.

    Two Oldham shops fined following seizure of thousands of illegal cigarettes
    Zaks Local Ltd in Failsworth. Photo: Google Maps via LDRS

    In a separate case in the borough, another trader was prosecuted by the council for selling illicit cigarettes and ‘singles’ to customers – despite having been previously given a written warning from trading standards.

    Under the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 it is an offence to sell single cigarettes.

    A total of 404 cigarettes were seized from Zaks Local Limited in Failsworth.

    On June 17 Abdur Rahman, sole director of Zaks Local Limited, of Hardman Lane, Failsworth pleaded guilty to one offence under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and two offences under the 2015 regulations.

    The 29-year-old from Stanley Grove, Manchester was fined £120 fine and ordered to pay costs of £425.

    Zaks Local Ltd was sentenced to a £200 fine plus costs of £425 to the same offences.

    Deputy council leader Amanda Chadderton, who is also cabinet member for neighbourhoods, said: “Thanks to the good work of our trading standards team, and tip-offs from residents, a lot of illegal cigarettes were seized.

    “Oldham council would always encourage people not to smoke as it’s unhealthy and can have long term consequences.

    “However, if people do decide to smoke then they should at least be getting legal products.

    “We are working with partners across Greater Manchester to drive down the illegal trade and the market is declining but it still goes on.

    “If you know where cheap tobacco is being sold, often as ‘duty free’, please get in touch. We will take action if we find illegal tobacco for sale.”

    All the seized cigarettes were forfeited and will be destroyed.

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