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Newcastle shop owner given community order for selling illicit tobacco

A shop owner in Newcastle-under-Lyme has been given a 12 month Community Order for selling illicit tobacco.  

Abbas Taher, owner of Castle Walk shop, pleaded guilty to 22 Trading Standards offences at a previous hearing at North Staffordshire Justice Centre on 1 August 2022. He was also ordered to do 100 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £2,000.


Trading Standards officers from Staffordshire County Council seized illegal cigarettes and tobacco with a street value of just under £5000 during 2 inspections in 2021,. The seizures were part of an ongoing operation to combat the sale and supply of illegal tobacco.


The 40-year-old of Eastfield Drive, Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent, was selling packs of 20 cigarettes for as little as £4.50 per pack when officers raided the shop.


Victoria Wilson, Cabinet Member with responsibility for trading standards at Staffordshire County Council said: “The sale of illicit tobacco is a crime which damages communities and harms legitimate businesses and we will take action against traders who knowingly sell it.

“Today’s sentence should act as a reminder to others selling such products that we take the issue seriously.

“Our officers continue to work hard to combat the sale of all illicit goods, especially alcohol and tobacco, which can be extremely harmful. The team do rely on intelligence from members of the public and businesses and anyone with information should contact the team.”

In the UK, it is estimated that about one in ten of all cigarettes and half of all hand-rolling tobacco are not duty paid. The illegal trade in tobacco has strong links to organised crime and illicit tobacco has a devastating effect on health.

These products are also widely available at low cost and this undermines efforts to discourage smoking through higher pricing of legitimate tobacco.

During recent years, Staffordshire County Council’s Trading Standards have uncovered over three million illegal Cigarettes and almost 200kg of illegal Hand Rolling Tobacco with an estimated street value of over £1 million.


Abbas Taher was given the sentence in court on Friday 23 September.  


People should report the sale of illicit cigarettes to the Fight the Fakes hotline – 01785 330356or


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