Trader must repay £14,600 after selling illegal tobacco

Hedi Ibrahim has bee told he must repay £14,600 after he was prosecuted for selling illegal tobacco

Hedi Ibrahim has bee told he must repay £14,600 after he was prosecuted for selling illegal tobacco Picture: SUFFOLK TRADING STANDARDS - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich trader previously prosecuted for selling illegal tobacco has been told he must repay £14,600 in the next three months.

Hedi Ibrahim was prosecuted by Suffolk Trading Standards in December 2017 and was given a suspended sentence of two and a half years as well as 240 hours of unpaid work in the community.

Ibrahim was trading as IKI Grocery Store in Franciscan Way, Ipswich.

Trading standards estimates that Ibrahim earned £302,505 from the illegal sales but with his realisable assets now totalling just £14,600, Ipswich Crown Court determined on Friday that he must repay this amount and a £140 victim surcharge.

Stuart Hughes, Suffolk Trading Standards officer, said: “Following the seizure of the tobacco, evidence was sent to relevant trademark holders as well as a product safety laboratory for testing.

“A quantity was found to be counterfeit, infringing the trademarks of the Regal, Richmond, Winston and Marlboro brands.

“A number of the cigarettes were also found to be unsafe without any self-extinguishing protection built into them. A large quantity was found to have been imported illegally, failing to bear health warnings in English.”

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Since the original sentencing in December 2017, Ibrahim has also had his alcohol licence revoked after a licence review was requested by Suffolk police with the support of Suffolk Trading Standards.

A committee of three councillors determined that the conditions of the current alcohol licence had been breached due to the sale of illicit tobacco and the criminal conviction that followed.

The latest court order has been made under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002, which makes criminals repay profits which they illegally gained.

A proportion of this money can go to local authorities to be used to fund additional work in the battle against crime.

Richard Rout, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for environment and public protection, said: “This is a great result for Suffolk.

“Not only has Suffolk Trading Standards removed illegal cigarettes from the streets that are often extremely dangerous, but also recovered money that will be used in the continuing work to protect our community from rogue traders.

“This prosecution should be a stark reminder to anyone storing, selling or distributing illegal tobacco that it will not be tolerated in Suffolk.”

Anyone with any concerns of illegal tobacco or cigarette sales can report it in confidence to trading standards on 0345 4040 506.