Posted on: Thursday 20 February 2020
Khallis Hamad of The Hawthorns, Cardiff, appeared in Newport Magistrates Court on Tuesday 18 February 2020 pleaded guilty to five charges of selling counterfeit and foreign labelled duty avoided cigarettes and tobacco and for illegally supplying nitrous oxide capsules (also known as laughing gas).
At the time of the investigation, Hamad was the sole director of the company trading as ‘Ponty Market’ on Osborne road, Pontypool. During the investigation by Trading Standards officers, a quantity of illegal tobacco and cigarettes were seized, along with boxes of nitrous oxide capsules. These items were all discovered hidden in a secret chamber under a kitchen worktop at the rear of the shop.
Some of the packets of cigarettes and pouches of tobacco were subsequently examined by the respective tobacco companies and identified as being counterfeit. The health warnings on the packs weren’t in English and didn’t have pictorial warnings (which is a legal requirement to sell in the UK). Nitrous oxide is classified as a psychoactive substance, and is therefore illegal to give away or sell for such purposes.
The Court requested a pre-sentence probation report before giving Hamad a £600 fine, and awarded costs of £694.46 plus £30 for victim support making a total of £1324.46. The Magistrates also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the tobacco and the nitrous oxide.
Councillor Fiona Cross, executive member for the environment said: “I’d like to thank our trading standards team for working hard to make sure cases such as Hamad appear in Court. The sentence is a clear indication how seriously these offences are. The sale of counterfeit goods is not a victimless crime and genuine retailers in Torfaen will continue to be protected from unfair competition posed by individuals involved in these activities.”
“We would encourage those who find cigarettes and tobacco too expensive to seek assistance from the smoking cessation services. It’s safer and better for your help to quit rather than turn to the illicit market. Call Help Me Quit for help and advise on how to stop smoking on Freephone 0808 2504116.”
Anybody with information on individuals selling counterfeit goods can contact the Trading Standards team in confidence by ringing 01633 647624 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org