Ipswich shopkeeper given community order for selling unsafe, counterfeit cigarettes
- Credit: PA
A shopkeeper has pleaded guilty to selling unsafe, counterfeit cigarettes from his Ipswich store.
Ahmed Kakl, of Yeoman Close, Ipswich, admitted seven offences along with identical charges on behalf of his company Kakl Limited, of Compair Crescent, when he appeared before the town’s magistrates.
The 33-year-old was sentenced to a 12-month community order with 180 hours’ unpaid work and must pay £3,841 in costs.
The offences related to 170 packets of counterfeit cigarettes and a pouch of hand rolling tobacco.
Prosecutor Nigel Inniss said Kakl had run a shop called Cost Price from May 2014.
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The business had a turnover of £300 to £400 a day.
Suffolk Trading Standards began an investigation after receiving a complaint about the selling of illicit tobacco from the premises in July 2015.
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A further complaint was received in October last year.
The court was told Kakl, who listened to proceedings through a Kurdish interpreter, had told officers he had only been selling illegal tobacco for seven months.
However, Mr Inniss said HM Revenue and Customs had indicated it might have been over a longer period.
The safety offences related to cigarettes which burned in a certain way and did not extinguish themselves.
Health warnings were not present on the packets or on the hand-rolling tobacco.
Magistrates heard Kakl was selling the cigarettes for £3.50 a pack and making 50p to a £1 profit on each.
The father-of-two bought them from someone in a car who came to his shop or when he met them at Ipswich railway station.
Dino Barricella, representing Kakl, said: “It is quite apparent there has been an element of naivety here in the sense that I think he was totally clueless to the safety regulations.
“He bought these items knowing they were cheap and believing they were counterfeit.
“I think there is a difference that needs to be born in mind between those who purposely go out and do it on a large-scale operation and purposely flout the regulations, and this case.”
Mr Barricella said his client had bought the cigarettes to “make a quick buck”.
He said Kakl had run his company – which has now ceased trading - for less than two years.
Mr Barricella concluded by saying: “He has been foolish and he is the first to accept that.”
In addition to the community order and costs, Kakl must also pay £60 to the victims’ fund.