Shopkeepers punished after illicit tobacco finds

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A Leicester shopkeeper has been given a suspended jail sentence after he was caught with more than 50,000 illicit cigarettes and 63kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco, according to a media audit by JTI.

The shopkeeper, who ran Shreeji News in Leicester, had previously been given a warning for selling non-UK duty paid alcohol.

In addition, the former owner of Smiths Convenience Store in Scunthorpe has been sentenced to a 12 month community order with the requirement to complete 150 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay costs of £610 and £85 victim surcharge following the seizure of 892 packs of cigarettes and 625kg of rolling tobacco.

Meanwhile, Balraj Singh Takhar, the owner of The Winestore in Black Colliery in County Durham was fined £2,155 after more than 5,000 counterfeit cigarettes and almost 1,5kg of rolling tobacco was found under floorboards during a routine inspection.

And Freshpol, a European supermarket in Kettering, is facing a licensing review after repeated instances of illegal tobacco sales. Over the course of two raids, more than 3,700 packs of illegal cigarettes were seized, 2,500 of which were counterfeit.

In total there were 18 incidents involving illicit tobacco in April, 14 prosecutions, and four seizures.

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