15:15 Monday 27 January 2014

Shopkeeper jailed after latest illegal cigarettes raid

Written byRICH GUTTRIDGE

Mohamed Amen is awaiting sentence Mohamed Amen is awaiting sentence

A SHOPKEEPER has been jailed for selling illegal cigarettes in Burton.

Osman Ahmad was told he presented a health risk to the public by offering counterfeit and non-duty paid cigarettes at discount prices at his corner shop in Dallow Street.

Almost 5,000 cigarettes and 1.4 kilogrammes of tobacco were found after trading standards officers raided the store as well as his flat in Victoria Street in September.

The 36-year-old was already known to trading standards - and had only completed a community order for similar offences four days prior to the raid.

Another man, 27-year-old Mohamed Amen, could also face jail after admitting to selling banned cigarettes at the Ezee Shop, in Horninglow Road North.

The store was also at the centre of a police and trading standards sting, where this time 2,160 cigarettes and 1.6 kilogrammes of tobacco were found stashed at the back of the shop.

The Dallow Street corner shop was raided after an undercover trading standards officer was sold illegal cigarettes.

Ahmad was jailed for two months yesterday after pleading guilty to four charges.

Khalid Mahmood, prosecuting on behalf of Staffordshire County Council, told Burton Magistrates’ Court: “It is unfair and unreasonable for legitimate shop owners to have competition from shops that sell illegal tobacco and cigarettes. It results in loss of revenue and loss of livelihood.

“Conditions and make-up of illegal cigarettes are unknown and they pose safety and health concerns.

“Low prices encourage young adults to smoke, while losses in tax increase the burden on taxpayers.”

Ahmad, representing himself in court, was apologetic for his actions but said nobody was perfect.

He said: “I would like to say I’m sorry and I will not be going to work as a shopkeeper again.

“I am a very hardworking person. Everybody has some fault in their life, nobody is perfect, but I am truly sorry for what happened.”

Amen, meanwhile, pleaded guilty to five charges relating to the sale of illegal cigarettes and will be sentenced at a later date.

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