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Pair fined for selling illegal fags
Thursday 4th July, 2013

Two people found guilty of selling illegal cigarettes under the counter at a shop in Wigan have been handed hefty fines.

Mr Alam Rahman, 38, of Brookhouse Street, Wigan was a part owner of the Baltija food store when it was raided by Wigan Councilís Trading Standards team in August 2012. During the raid, sniffer dogs found a total of 6,800 foreign labelled cigarettes hidden behind a tiled wall and on the second occasion, in November 2012, hidden in a dummy shop till. Mr Rahman appeared in court last month (Thursday 20th June) where he admitted selling illegal cigarettes and was fined a total of £778.00, including costs.

Ms Danguole Tomkute, 30, previously of Shared Street, Wigan was the owner of the same shop back in October 2008. She was caught out after selling fireworks to a sixteen year old girl, before offering a trading standards officer illegal tobacco from under the counter during a test purchase. In total, over 7000 cigarettes were seized from the premises.

Appearing before Wigan Magistrates Court last month (12th June) Ms Tomkute denied selling fireworks to an underage person and possessing 47 packs of counterfeit Golden Virginia tobacco. She was found guilty and fined £820 plus ordered to pay £400 in costs.

In the last year, Wigan Trading Standards have seized over 75,000 illegal cigarettes and 65 kg of illegal hand rolled tobacco, of which 8000 cigarettes and 12 kg of tobacco were found to be counterfeit.

Councillor Kevin Anderson, Wigan Council cabinet member for communities, says: “This is a very positive outcome and Iím pleased that both of the accused have been brought to justice for their irresponsible behaviour. I can understand the temptation to buy cheap fags but I would urge everyone to see the bigger picture before they do so.This is no victimless crime. Children and young smokers are often targeted by people who sell illegal cigarettes, getting them hooked on smoking. The people making money out of this do not care who they sell to.”

If you have information about illegal cigarette sales, contact Wigan Trading Standards in confidence on 01942 827476 or email ts@wigan.gov.uk You can also call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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