A former Hereford trader has been jailed for 25 months after Herefordshire Council’s Trading Standards Officers seized a record haul of counterfeit tobacco

A former Hereford trader has been jailed for 25 months for selling illegal tobacco.

Hemin Jamal, 37, the former owner of the Hereford shops, Supersam on Eign Street and Mila on Belmont Road, pleaded guilty to eight offences in June, and was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on Monday 23 July for selling illegal tobacco and for being in possession of a large amount of counterfeit tobacco products.

The case was taken to court by Herefordshire Council, after the illegal tobacco was discovered at Mr Jamal’s shop premises in November 2016, by the council’s trading standards team.

Officers seized a total of 360,000 illegal cigarettes and 25kg of fake hand rolling tobacco.  The fake and smuggled products were found hidden in containers hired by Mr Jamal and were concealed in instant barbecues in a bid to avoid detection.  The record haul equated to £130,000 in duty tax evasion.

Investigations unveiled that almost half of all customers entering the Supersam convenience store at Eign Street, were purchasing illegal tobacco products, which were retrieved from the flat above the shop by members of staff.

Mr Jamal owned both shops for over a year, until new owners took over both premises in February 2017.

Marc Willimont, Head of Development Management and Regulation, said:

 

“The sale of illegal tobacco severely damages honest local businesses, as well as costing the tax payer £2 billion nationally.

“We will continue to work in partnership with the Police to clamp down on this organised criminal activity.

“This sentence sends out a strong message to others who may be selling or could be considering selling illegal tobacco, that the trade will not be tolerated, and if caught legal action may be taken against you.”

If anyone has any information regarding the sale of illegal tobacco within Herefordshire, please contact trading standards on 01432 261761.

Further information about Herefordshire trading standards, and how to report a trading standards issue, can be found online.

Published: Tuesday, 24th July 2018