An investigation led by officers from Derby City Council Trading Standards team has led to the prosecution of a shop owner who had illicit tobacco products in his possession for sale.
Rizgar Latif, owner of Zielona Zabka, 15-17 Sinfin Lane, Derby plead guilty in the case at Derby Magistrate’s Court in June 2018.
This was not a first-time offence for Latif. He was previously prosecuted by the Council in October 2016, following a seizure of illicit tobacco products. Derby Magistrate’s Court ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the 5,340 cigarettes, 1.1kg of hand rolling tobacco, and was ordered to pay fines and costs totalling £3,671.20.
Today, Mr. Latif was sentenced at Derby Magistrate’s Court. His sentence reflected how seriously these cases are taken; he has had his personal license suspended for three months, and has been sentenced to a 12 month Community Order (200 hours of unpaid work). Latif was also ordered the forfeiture and destruction of the 1,620 cigarettes and 100g of hand rolling tobacco.
In addition to this, Latif was ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £85, and total costs of £2242.07.
The illicit tobacco market is now estimated to make up around 15% of overall tobacco consumption in the UK, increasing from 8% in 2014/15.
Derby City Council’s Trading Standards Team Leader Fakir Osman said:
“We take the supply of illegal cigarettes very seriously and we will vigorously pursue those who sell them. This is an excellent result for a repeat offender. The team is thrilled with the sentencing, as it sends a strong message to how seriously the Council, and the courts take this issue.”
Councillor Matthew Holmes, Deputy Leader of the Council added:
“The illicit market is thought to result in a loss of £2.5billion per year to the HMRC in duties; that’s a vast amount of money that could be used to fund vital public services rather than being lost to fraudsters.
“The Government is considering track and trace regulations, that will put in place a new method of tracking the sale of legitimate tobacco products through the supply chain, and that’s something that we would welcome here in Derby, as we continue, and step up our crackdown on illegal traders.”
If you would like to report the suspect sale of illicit cigarettes confidentially, you can call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
If you want help to quit smoking, why not get in touch with the Council’s Livewell team?