A Coventry man has been sentenced to carry out 100 hours of unpaid work and a £900 fine for being caught with counterfeit cigarettes.
Shopkeeper Waleed Sulaiman, aged 41, of Quinton Park Coventry appeared in court yesterday to answer two charges relating to counterfeit cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco from 2013.
In October 2013, officers from Coventry City Council’s Trading Standards Team visited Albaraka Market, a convenience store based at 11 Victoria Street owned by Mr Sulaiman, and executed warrants on two vehicles outside.
Ten items of tobacco were seized from a van’s glove compartment, of which, five were labelled as Golden Virginia and breached a registered trademark. A forced entry into a further car was made and counterfeit cigarettes were found in the boot in three plastic bags. These products also infringed a registered trademark.
Mr Sulaiman was summonsed to appear at court, but failed to attend and a warrant for his arrest was issued. He was able to avoid arrest for three years and was believed to have left the country, but he was found in 2016.
At Warwick Crown Court on 12 September 2017, Mr Sulaiman entered a guilty plea and was sentenced to a 12 month community order, requiring 100 hours of unpaid work, as well as a £900 fine and being ordered to pay £2000 towards the costs.
Allan Harwood, Trading Standards and Consumer Protection Manager, said: “It has taken a long time to get this case to court, but it should serve as a warning that where people flagrantly breach the law, they will be held accountable.
It is important that shops that trade legally are not disadvantaged and can compete on a fair basis.”
To report the selling of illegal tobacco, please call Trading Standards on 03454 040506 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org