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Chesham shopkeeper fined for selling illegal tobacco

Cigarettes were also found hidden in the shop.

Published by Scarlett Bawden-Gaul at 3:23pm 16th March 2020. (Updated at 3:57pm 16th March 2020) 3-minute read.

Chesham shopkeeper fined for selling illegal tobacco

A Chesham shopkeeper has been fined after he was found to be selling illegal tobacco. 

A Chesham shopkeeper appeared at High Wycombe Court on Wednesday (March 11th) after being arrested following a search last year.

Chesham Food and Wine was searched as part of a joint operation between Trading Standards, policing and licensing officers. 

Amarpreet Singh Malhotra denied have any items in his store, which is when a sniffer dog was sent in.

Minutes later the dog found Marlboro Gold cigarettes hidden in a stool behind the counter and then pouches of Amber Leaf hand-rolling tobacco concealed in empty packing under the counter.

Neither items had English warnings and were not part of the standard UK plain green packaging. 

Officers seized seven 50g pouches of Amber Leaf tobacco and seven packs of 20 Marlboro Gold cigarettes, with a retail value of £287.

Mr Malhotra told officers he bought them for his own use and then decided he would smoke half and sell half, because other stores in Chesham sold cheap tobacco and he wanted to attract customers into his shop.

On Wednesday (11 March) at Wycombe Magistrates Court Amarpreet Singh Malhotra admitted four counts of supplying illegally labelled cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco.

Shenel Johnson, defense, told magistrates Mr Malhotra had no previous convictions for offences of this type and the amount of tobacco discovered was very small: a case she said she would have expected to be dealt with by a caution.

He was fined £400, ordered to pay costs of £627 and a victim surcharge of £32. Magistrates also ordered the destruction of the seized tobacco and cigarettes.

Gareth Williams, Buckinghamshire County Council's Cabinet Member for Community Engagement and Public Health, said:

"Let this case be a warning to anyone tempted to deal in illegal cigarettes and tobacco that our Trading Standards officers take their role of enforcement very seriously.

"All tobacco is harmful, but the supply of illegal cigarettes seriously undermines the drive to reduce smoking, it fuels organised criminality and it's often a gateway for young people to becoming addicted to a habit which prematurely kills over half its users."

To report a trader selling cheap and illegal tobacco, contact the Buckinghamshire Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 6 999.

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