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Illicit cigarette seller convicted

At Hereford Magistrates Court on Thursday 23rd February Hersh Kareem Hassan of Europe Quality Foods, Brookend Street, Ross-on-Wye pleaded guilty to 5 charges of supplying and being in possession for supply of cigarettes and tobacco which carried no written and pictorial health warnings.

All the items were non-UK duty paid and were foreign products smuggled into Britain. Mr Hassan, 26, who works in the Ross convenience store was caught persistently selling the illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco over a six month period.

In a case taken by Herefordshire Council’s trading standards service, magistrates felt it was so serious as to impose a 12 month supervision order and 100 hours unpaid work. Mr Hassan was also ordered to pay £400 towards costs.

Mike Pigrem, acting head of consumer and business protection for Herefordshire Council, Mike Pigrem, said: “Shops selling illicit tobacco products have become a significant problem within the county and they are not only defrauding the Chancellor, but also damaging honest local businesses.

“Further, the vitally important health warnings are not present and the cheaper selling prices may encourage younger people to take up smoking. People should also be aware, that much of the illicit hand rolling tobacco is counterfeit and many of the cigarettes exceed permitted EU levels of tar and other harmful substances,” he added.

If anyone has information regarding the selling of illicit tobacco, they can contact the fakes hotline anonymously on 0845 894 1008