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Illicit tobacco driver caught red handed

Published Tuesday, 12 February 2019

A Coventry man has been sentenced to 10 months imprisonment after being caught transporting illegal cigarettes between London and Coventry.

On 9 January 2018 Trading Standards received information that a van being driven from London to Coventry was believed to be transporting illicit tobacco.

Trading Standards liaised with West Midlands Police and when the vehicle entered Coventry it was stopped and found to contain 18,000 packets of illegal cigarettes. The black market value for these cigarettes would have been approximately £63,000. 

Sardar Sattar was arrested, interviewed and a search of his house found another 950 packets of illicit cigarettes, with a ‘black market value’ of approximately £4275. 

On 5 February 2019, at Warwick Crown Court Sardar Sattar, aged 39, of Anglian Way, Stoke, Coventry, pleaded guilty to six offences relating to supplying illicit tobacco that breached trademarks, were not in standardised packaging and did not have the appropriate health warnings.

In sentencing His Honour Judge Potter gave credit for guilty pleas, but highlighted Sardar Sattar was a trusted distributor of illicit cigarettes who was able to store them as well. It was a professional operation and required a deterrent sentence. Sardar Sattar was duly sentence to 10 months imprisonment.

Cllr Christine Thomas, Chair of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, said: “This case shows how organised the distribution of illicit tobacco has become with cigarettes being picked up from London, then stored and distributed to various shops in Coventry.

“It is through being able to react quickly with the support of our partners that this offender was caught and prosecuted.

“I hope the sentence acts as a deterrent to others involved in the supply of illicit tobacco.”

To report the selling of illegal tobacco, please call trading standards on 03454 040506 or e-mail:

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