A shop owner who was found guilty of intentionally selling dangerous cigarettes has today been sentenced.
Haiman Fatah Mohamad, of 43, Castle Square, Wyberton, was handed a 48 month custodial sentence suspended for two years by Boston Magistrates, given 130 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay legal costs of approximately £8,500 plus a victim surcharge of £80.
He was previously found guilty of eight offences at Central Food and Wine in West Street, Boston, including: the sale of non self-extinguishing cigarettes, health warnings not being correctly displayed on packaging as well as being in possession of criminal property.
In June 2014, Lincolnshire Trading Standards received intelligence that the shop was selling illegal tobacco, and so, together with Lincolnshire Police, officers searched the shop, seizing just over 9,000 cigarettes.
Amongst the confiscated items were 112 packets of Jin Ling cigarettes, which don’t self-extinguish and were sadly the cause of a tragic fire in Spalding in 2012.
A sniffer dog from Wagtail UK (pictured) also assisted in the investigation.
They were concealed behind wall panels in the toilet and hidden in shisha pipe boxes behind the counter and under the platform floor of the area behind the tillSenior trading standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council Kirsty Toyne
Kirsty Toyne, senior trading standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council, said: “Mr Mohamed had gone to great lengths to hide these cigarettes. They were concealed behind wall panels in the toilet and hidden in shisha pipe boxes behind the counter and under the platform floor of the area behind the till.
“To help us find the cigarettes, we used a tobacco detection dog – he found the concealments underneath the counter and in the toilet.
“Jin Lings (pictured), which were one of the brands found at one of the shops, are illegal in the EU. This brand is particularly worrying to us, as it is not made to the correct legislative standards.
“We are urging people to look out for fake goods, such as cigarettes and tobacco, as these may pose a more significant health risk than genuine cigarettes.
“As well as the potential health and safety concerns, local businesses are also suffering as they are unable to compete with the cheaper prices of these illicit products.
“If you do suspect anyone of selling cheap, illegal cigarettes, you can call Crimestoppers, anonymously, on 0800 555111 to avoid tragic cases in the future.”