Lancaster shop fined after court hears it sold illegally labelled smoking products

A trader who sold illicit tobacco has been fined £4,000.

Thursday, 7th January 2021, 3:45 pm

Sukhbir Hothi, 44, of Moor Close, Lancaster, and company Moorgate News Limited in Lancaster, admitted three offences relating to a seizure of improperly labelled tobacco products and electronic cigarette refills.

Prosecuting for Lancashire Trading Standards, Claire Box said officers visited and inspected the shop on February 5.

She added: “ Mr Hothi was asked if he had any illegal or illicit tobacco on the premises and he initially hesitated and said no, but then pointed behind the counter and said ‘yes there is some there’.”

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Tobacco is subject to standardised packaging legislation

Officers found 658 cigarette packs, 43 of hand rolling tobacco and 113 e-cigarette liquids, which flouted stringent rules about the labelling of tobacco, or did not comply with health warning requirements.

Hothi gave various reasons for the stock including some having been moved from his house to make way for relatives to stay, some were given as gifts and some had been left for other people.

Lancaster Magistrates’ Court imposed a two year conditional Discharge and ordered him to pay a £21 surcharge and £200 costs.

The firm must pay a £4,000 fine and £505 costs.

Mrs Box added: “ These regulations aim to make smoking less attractive to adults and children but as illicit packets tend to be sold at around half the price of legitimate packets this makes the habit more accessible.

“The lower price also makes it difficult for law abiding retailers to compete and deprives the taxman of duty and VAT of over £8.50 per pack of illicit cigarettes and £12 per pack of tobacco sold.”

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