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Oldham shopkeeper fined after over 22,000 illegal cigarettes were seized from his premises

It comes after officers from Oldham Trading Standards and a trained sniffer dog raided Timisoara on Ashton Road.

Emily Sergeant Emily Sergeant - 27th June 2022

An Oldham shopkeeper has been fined after an illegal stash of cigarettes and tobacco was found stashed in the basement of his premises.

After a string of complaints from members of the public that illicit or counterfeit tobacco was being sold at Timisoara, on Ashton Road, Oldham Council has confirmed that officers from Oldham Trading Standards and a trained sniffer dog raided the shop, and a total of 22,557 mixed brand cigarettes were uncovered.

100gm of illegal hand rolling tobacco was also seized from the premises.

The illegal cigarettes and tobacco were found stashed and hidden in a number of locations throughout the shop – including in a concealment behind the counter, in an adapted jacket and a holdall, and in the basement.

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The owner of the shop, 39-year-old Sardar Mohammed, pleaded guilty to offences under the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015, as well as an offence under the Trade Marks Act 1994, and was told to pay costs of £3,450 and a £95 victim surcharge.

He was also sentenced to an 18-month community order that requires him to attend 30 days rehabilitation activity requirement, and 180 hours of unpaid work.

Officers from Oldham Trading Standards and a trained sniffer dog raided Timisoara on Ashton Road / Credit: Google Maps

“Thanks to good work by our Trading Standards staff, and tip offs from residents, a large haul of illegal cigarettes has been seized,” explained Councillor Jean Stretton, Cabinet Member for Neighbourhoods at Oldham Council.

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“Illegal tobacco makes it easier for children and young people to buy cigarettes and get hooked on smoking and the people making money out of this do not care who they sell to and the illegal tobacco trade has strong links with organised crime.”

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She continued: “We are working with partners across Greater Manchester to drive down the illegal trade and the market is declining – but it still goes on.”

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Oldham Council is asking local residents to keep an eye out, and where they see cheap tobacco being sold, often as ‘duty free’, are encouraged to get in touch and report it either anonymously to Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, or online at keep-it-out.co.uk.

“We will take action if we find illegal tobacco for sale,” the Council insists.

Featured Image – Oldham Council