Rekan Gafoor (29) from Coventry was sentenced to a community penalty of 100 hours unpaid work and ordered to pay costs of £800 on Tuesday 24 February at Hereford Magistrates’ Court. He was the former owner of International Food, Commercial Road, Hereford and pled guilty to offences under consumer protection legislation. The case had been brought by Herefordshire Council’s trading standards service.
The court heard how Mr Gafoor had been caught in the act of selling counterfeit tobacco last September by an officer who had gone into the shop to make a test purchase. In total eight test purchases were made over a seven month period to show the extent of the operation.
The International Food shop has been found to be selling cheap illicit tobacco products over the past four years under various owners.
Herefordshire Council’s head of trading standards & licensing, Mike Pigrem, said
“Mr Gafoor took over the running of the shop in February 2014, following a raid on the premises where illegal cigarettes were found hidden inside doors, in walls and under floors.
“Despite the verbal assurances given by Mr Gafoor that he would not sell illicit tobacco, it soon became evident that these were false.
“These premises have acquired a notorious reputation for selling illicit product and are therefore the target of repeated enforcement action.
“Where evidence is obtained confirming possession or a sale of illicit product, then the matter will be put before the courts for sentencing. The sale and supply of illicit tobacco is a national problem which has a serious impact on both the health and wealth of the nation”.
Anyone with information on people dealing in illegal tobacco products should contact Trading Standards on 01432 261761”
Trading standards officers recently had 400kg of seized illicit cigarettes and tobacco destroyed at a recycling plant.
This represented £60,000 worth of illegal products seized in the previous two years.