January 13, 2022
A grocery shop in a Herefordshire town has lost its license to sell alcohol after trading in bootleg cigarettes.
Trading standards officers made three separate test purchases of Benson and Hedges cigarettes from Ledbury Mini Market in the town’s New Street in August and September last year, finding them to be counterfeit in each case.
In October, they then seized a further 8,560 illegal cigarettes were from a car used by the shop owner, Dealer Mohammed Amin Aziz.
Principal trading standards officer Paul Di Lucia said his department investigates three kinds of illegal tobacco sales: ‘smuggled’ goods manufactured legitimately abroad but on which no UK duty has been paid; ‘illegal whites’ which do not resemble UK brands; and ‘counterfeit’ goods illegally manufactured in imitation of genuine brands.
All three bought from the shop were found to be in the latter category, Mr. Di Lucia said. “These pose the biggest danger to consumers because they could be smoking anything.”
The butts of such cigarettes can also continue burning when no longer smoked, making them also a greater fire hazard, he added.
“By selling these products, Mr. Aziz has shown complete disregard for consumers’ health, and only cares about making money.”