A man selling counterfeit and illegal cigarettes on Facebook has been prosecuted by Lincolnshire Trading Standards.
Karwan Salim Ahamed (29) of Loire Court, Peterborough, had been using fake Facebook profiles to sell counterfeit and illegal cigarettes, mainly in Lincolnshire on Boston, Spalding, Skegness, Sleaford, Kirton and Heckington sale pages.
He was caught following an investigation by Lincolnshire Trading Standards and despite pleading not guilty all the way through the trial, was found guilty to offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994, General Product Safety Regulations 2005 the Tobacco and Related Product Regulations 2016.
At the trial at Lincoln Magistrates Court on 29 November 2018, the District Judge said: "To put it bluntly, I don’t believe a word Mr Ahamed has said."
Mr Ahamed was given a 12 month community order to carry out 200 hours of unpaid work. He was also ordered to pay £5,000 costs within 28 days.
Joanne Hocking, senior trading standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council, commented: “These penalties send a strong message to sellers who try to hide behind fake profiles. We, along with our colleagues across the country, are continually monitoring social media sites and will take appropriate action against anyone that offers such items for sale.
“Brands such as NZ Gold and Minsk do not meet the standardised packing requirements as they are usually labelled in a foreign language and do not carry the compulsory health warnings.
"Additionally, they fail the ignition propensity test which means they do not self-extinguish if left unattended.
"These brands aren’t made in conventional ways, have no checks or quality standards. In essence, you have no idea what you are smoking.
"If you see such brands for sale you can report this to us via Citizen's Advice Consumer Helpline on 03454 040506 or to Crimestoppers."