Ipswich shopkeeper back in court over fraudulent sale of £100k of illegal tobacco

Heidi Ibrahim sold more than �100,000 worth of illegal tobacco from the former Iki grocery store in

Heidi Ibrahim sold more than �100,000 worth of illegal tobacco from the former Iki grocery store in Ipswich. Picture: JASON NOBLE - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich shopkeeper who sold more than £100,000 worth of illegal tobacco has had a confiscation hearing which will decide how much money he will have to repay adjourned until next week.

Heidi Ibrahim, who ran the Iki grocery store in Franciscan Way, sold hand rolling tobacco and cigarettes under the counter over a period of around five months in 2016, Ipswich Crown Court heard.

Last year, Ibrahim, 32, of Franciscan Way, admitted participating in a fraudulent business, possessing goods with a false trademark, supplying a tobacco product not containing a health warning and offering to supply a dangerous product.

He was given a two year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered to do 240 hours unpaid work in the community.

Sentencing him, Judge David Goodin said: “You were presented with an opportunity to sell various forms of dodgy tobacco from under the counter, over the counter.”

He said the items were not properly packaged, did not carry health warnings and some of the cigarettes were dangerous.

The judge said when Suffolk Trading Standards officers “swooped” on his shop on December 12, 2016 Ibrahim had made himself scarce, but had subsequently contacted the officers.

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He said in his judgement the offending had continued for at least four to five months and his takings had been more than £100,000.

He said Ibrahim had received a warning letter in July 2016. “You knew you were treading on thin ice, but the temptation was too much for you and you continued out of greed because of the profit that could be made,” said the judge.

A hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was due to have taken place today, but was adjourned until next week after Judge Rupert Overbury said the sentencing judge should deal with case.

Ibrahim, who is representing himself, told the court he had delivered a box containing his financial documents to the court last week.

At the sentencing hearing David Wilson, for Ibrahim, told the court his client claimed he had only been selling the illicit tobacco for six to seven weeks and his profit had only been £35,000.

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