Preston shop manager fined over ‘Under the counter’ tobacco

Preston Magistrates' Court
Preston Magistrates' Court
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A shop manager and his assistant have been convicted of offences linked to selling illicit tobacco.

Abdul Tailor, 61, of Fulwood Hall Lane, Preston, 
runs the Fruit and Veg Pound Shop on Plungington Road, Preston.

He bought a pack of 20 ‘President’ cigarettes for £4 by a man who got them from a compartment under the counter.

Mandy Maxim

He pleaded guilty to two charges of supplying tobacco products which did not possess the necessary health warnings.

He had already been given a warning for similar matters, Preston Magistrates’ Court heard.

Worker Ali Goligapothi, 54, of New Hall Lane, was accused of aiding or abetting the supply of the products.

Neither turned up to the hearing.

Prosecuting, Mandy Maxim, of Lancashire Trading Standards, said: “Tobacco products are required to be labelled with prescribed text and pictures bearing warnings.

“On August 28, Michael Nurek, a volunteer, was asked to attempt to purchase illicit tobacco at Plungington Road.

“He bought a pack of 20 ‘President’ cigarettes for £4 by a man who got them from a compartment under the counter.”

An inspection of the shop was then carried out, in which a stash of tobacco products was found hidden under the counter.

In a statement read in court, Tailor’s solicitor said he had taken a “back seat”. He became aware Goligapothi was selling a small amount under the counter to people known to him and asked him to cease the practice.

The magistrates’ bench ordered Tailor to pay a £1,200 fine, £100 costs and a £60 surcharge, while Goligapothoi must pay a £400 fine, £240 costs and a £40 surcharge.

He added he felt misguided loyalty to Goligapothi who is an in-law.