Herefordshire Council’s Trading Standards carried out a joint raid as part of a Multi Agency Targeted Enforcement Strategy operation

A Hereford City shopkeeper has been fined for selling illegal tobacco in a case taken to court by Herefordshire Council’s Trading Standards service.

Adam Ibrahim, 26, of Bank Street Dudley, pleaded guilty yesterday (Monday 1 October 2018) at Hereford Magistrates’ Court to six offences of possession and sale of illegal tobacco, all of which was non UK duty-paid. The former owner of the Zabka shop at Eign Gate, Hereford, was fined and required to pay costs totalling £2472. Mr Ibrahim is the fourth consecutive owner of the Zabka shop in four years to be convicted of selling illegal tobacco. 

In January 2018, Herefordshire Council's Trading Standards, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service and West Mercia Police undertook a joint raid as part of a Multi Agency Targeted Enforcement Strategy (MATES) operation. 1580 packets of illegal cigarettes and 132 pouches of illegal hand rolling tobacco were seized; products were found in sophisticated concealments hidden in the floor and in false backs to large fridges.

Marc Willimont, Herefordshire Council’s Head of Regulatory & Development Management Services, 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 crime which is often associated with other criminal activity. This case was yet another successful outcome supported by multi-agency targeted enforcement which clearly shows the value of working in partnership with other agencies.” 

Sergeant Duncan Reynolds from West Mercia Police said:

"The trade of illegal cigarettes and other commodities is not only harmful to health, it is the type of crime that can be linked to organised crime groups working across our county borders. Serious and organised crime has a devastating effect on communities. I would urge members of the public to work with the police and Trading Standards to recognise the signs and report them so they can be investigated thoroughly.

"This is yet another example of successful partnership working to tackle organised crime in our community. Alongside MATES, West Mercia Police’s Protect campaign will see neighbourhood officers continuing to work closely with other organisations using all the powers available to bring offenders to justice.”

There is further information about Herefordshire Trading Standards on the Herefordshire Council website at www.herefordshire.gov.uk/trading-standards

Published: 2nd October 2018