Eastbourne shop workers jailed after discovering £10,000 worth of illegal tobacco stocks

A SHOPWORKER has been jailed after discovering an illegal stock of tobacco worth more than £10,000.

Officials from East Sussex Trading Standards found illegal hand-rolled tobacco and cigarettes at the Aryian Mini Market in Eastbourne after three inspections in 2020.

One of the inspections of the Brassey Avenue store was conducted by a tobacco-trained sniffer dog.

The tobacco and cigarettes were found in various hiding places, including under the floor of the store’s rear storage room and behind wall panels.

Sarbast Hassan admitted ownership of the items with a view to selling them.

The total estimated retail value of the illicit tobacco from all three inspections was £10,374.

The 32-year-old, who now lives in Essex Street, Hull, has been sentenced to eight months in prison after pleading guilty to possession of counterfeit cigarettes for sale and possession of roll-your-own tobacco and cigarettes not declared in the UK.

Richard Strawson, manager of East Sussex Trading Standards, said: “This conviction is a further warning to those involved in the sale of counterfeit tobacco that we are committed to finding and prosecuting those involved in this illegal activity hold tight.

“We take the supply of illicit tobacco very seriously and will do everything in our power to address this issue and protect our residents.”

Sentencing Hassan at Hove Crown Court, Judge Jeremy Gold QC said: “These are serious matters involving the trade in illegal goods. I think it is so serious that just imprisonment will suffice.”

A confiscation and destruction order was issued for the tobacco seized and Hassan was ordered to pay £1,644 in prosecution costs.

Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health for East Sussex, added: “There are an estimated 57,000 smokers in East Sussex and around 1,000 deaths in the county are linked to smoking each year.

“Most smokers started before they were 18 and illicit tobacco is sold at pocket money prices, addicting local children in the poorest parts of the borough, perpetuating the cycle of health inequalities.

“Public Health will continue to work with Trade Standards and other partners across the county to combat illicit tobacco and protect our communities from tobacco addiction and the harms it brings.”

Aryian Mini Market is now under new ownership.

Members of the public are encouraged to do their part to ensure East Sussex trade standards and public health keep illicit tobacco products off the streets by reporting anything suspicious.

https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/20288658.eastbourne-shopworker-jailed-discovery-10k-illegal-tobacco-stash/?ref=rss Eastbourne shop workers jailed after discovering £10,000 worth of illegal tobacco stocks

Fry Electronics Team

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