Man pleads guilty after selling counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco in Freeman Street shop

Counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco on Freeman Street

Man pleads guilty after selling counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco in Freeman Street shop

A man has pleaded guilty after he was found to be selling counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco at his Freeman Street shop.

Ali Saleh Ibrahim, 38, appeared at Grimsby Magistrates’ Court on Friday 8 October in relation to three charges brought under the Trade Marks Act 1994.

This comes after Trading Standards made the discovery in February of the counterfeit products, which added up to 300 Richmond cigarettes, 1,000 Lambert & Butler cigarettes and 15 pouches of Golden Virginia tobacco.

During the routine inspection at Harrison’s News Store, Ibrahim ran to the back of the store as soon as he saw the Trading Standards officers.

This was so he could dispose of three bags – which were later found to contain the illegal tobacco products – by throwing them over a fence to the rear of the property.

The street value of the goods were £457.50 – with the legitimate value of £1,020.

This case is just one of many similar ones in the area. In June, Trading Standards officers visited a number of shops on Freeman Street in what was described as a “day of action”, seizing a large sum of illicit cigarettes and tobacco.

After being given credit for his early guilty pleas and his current circumstances, Ibrahim was given a two-year conditional discharge and ordered to pay council costs of £565 and a victim surcharge of £22.

The Chairman of the Bench in his sentencing comments told Ibrahim that these were “serious offences which not only cause a financial loss to the economy, but the products concerned are extremely damaging to the health of users”.

Councillor Ron Shepherd, portfolio holder for safer and stronger communities, said: “I hope this sends a clear message to anyone thinking of possessing and selling counterfeit tobacco that our officers will find you and pursue the matter, so don’t be tempted.

“Each inspection that we carry out disrupts the supply chain. With the support of the public, we can bring an end to this criminal trade. We do this to protect you.

“We will act on information received and enforce where necessary, so please get in touch with the council’s Trading Standards team if you are concerned.”

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Lauren started working for Gi Media in March 2021. She graduated from the University of Sheffield in 2019 with a degree in Journalism Studies and a Gold-Standard Diploma from the National Council of the Training of Journalists (NCTJ). She has several years of experience writing for both local and national media outlets.