A shopkeeper has been sentenced after counterfeit and incorrectly labelled cigarettes and tobacco were seized at his shop on four separate occasions.
Trading standards officers were helped by detection dog Milo, from Wagtails, in discovering the tobacco which Muhammad Amir had hidden in his shop Bits ‘n’ Bobs in Dale Street, Radcliffe.
The items were discovered on four separate visits in November 2014, January 2015, February 2015 and March 2015. The retail value of the four seizures was estimated to be almost £11,000, and all items were forfeited for destruction.
Amir (aged 38) of Slade Lane, Longsight, Manchester pleaded guilty at Bury Magistrates Court (Tuesday 25 August) to 45 offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and Consumer Protection Act 1987.
He was sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for two years, and ordered to undertake 100 hours’ unpaid community work. He was instructed to pay £1,016 court costs plus a £80 victim surcharge.
Amir was previously convicted on 3 March 2015 for offences related to tobacco seizures made at his shop in July 2013 and October 2013, when he had pleaded guilty to seven offences and was given a £500 fine, plus £500 costs and a £50 victim surcharge.
Andrew Johnson, head of trading standards and licensing at Bury Council, said: “We always urge consumers not to buy counterfeit goods, which can be shoddy, unsafe and even linked to organised crime.
“This defendant is a serial offender who has a willful disregard for the law, and the penalty he has received reflects this.
Mr Johnson added: “This is another successful example of agencies working together to protect the local economy. It is not just big business that suffers as a result of this type of activity, but honest local retailers struggling to compete with the black market.
“Anyone wishing to bring counterfeiting to our attention can contact Bury Trading Standards on 0161 253 5566 or anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”
Press release issued: 26 August 2015.
Picture: Detection dog Milo helps trading standards officers sniff out illicit tobacco at Amir’s shop in Radcliffe.