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Trio of Ipswich shop owners plead guilty to sale of illegal cigarettes and tobacco

PUBLISHED: 05:30 20 August 2019 | UPDATED: 09:26 20 August 2019

Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich  Picture: ARCHANT

Suffolk Magistrates' Court in Ipswich Picture: ARCHANT

Three former Ipswich shop owners have pleaded guilty to selling illicit cigarettes following an undercover sting by trading standards officers.

Akil Aukar, 35, of Norwich Road, Didar Hoshyar, 30, of Wellington Street, and Diler Samad Mohammad, 43, now of Bearwood Road, Smethwick, Birmingham, but formally of Eustace Street, Ipswich, appeared at Suffolk Magistrates Court on Monday, August 19.

Aukar, who formally owned Street Corner in Norwich Road, pleaded guilty to four offences related to the supply of tobacco products without the required health warnings or packaging regulations.

Hoshyar, who used to own a shop at 12 St Helens Street, pleaded guilty to six offences and Mohammad, who formally owned the European Food Store in the same street, pleaded guilty to eight offences.

Although the businesses were not connected, the three men were prosecuted together as part of the same sting operation.

Prosecuting on behalf of Suffolk Trading Standards, Richard Power said the charges came from an operation carried out on April 25 last year after officers received intelligence illicit tobacco products were being sold from the shops.

Undercover officers, acting as customers, managed to buy illicit cigarettes from all three of the stores. Search warrants were executed a few months later, discovering more illegal tobacco products at all three shops.

Mr Power said duty would not have been paid on the tobacco products sold and selling them impacts genuine traders.

"Illicit tobacco also has an increased risk of harm," he said.

"Smaller quantities seized or sold is not a reflection of the seriousness of offending.

"It is our experience dealers in illicit tobacco only ever carry a small stock at any one time."

In mitigation, all three men said they were not hands on at their businesses day to day and that they did not know illicit tobacco had been sold through their premises.

Presiding magistrate Paul Thacker handed the three men each an eight week prison sentence, suspended for one year.

He also ordered Aukar and Hoshyar to pay £2,162.50 in court costs each while Mohammad was made to pay costs of £2,252.50.

All three were also made to pay a £122 victim surcharge.

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