Trader sentenced after thousands of illegal cigarettes found in car boot

  • Friday 13 January 2023

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Image of tobacco hidden in bags inside a car boot.

A Manchester trader who stashed thousands of illegal cigarettes in a car boot has been sentenced following his day in court. 

In May 2021 officers from Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards Team carried out a test purchase at Superstore 1017, in Stockport Road, Levenshulme. 

This was after intelligence received indicated that illicit tobacco was being sold at the premises. This was confirmed by a test purchase when a pack of cigarettes was retrieved from a car parked outside the shop and sold.

During a follow up visit in June, 2021, officers conducted a search of the premises, with illicit tobacco found under the counter. A further search, carried out with the help of a tobacco detection dog, discovered more than 16,000 cigarettes and 0.5kg of hand rolling tobacco stored in a parked BMW car outside. 

The director of the store, Djemil Dulovi, 54, of Chapel Street, Manchester, initially denied any knowledge of the car, but eventually handed over a key to the vehicle which allowed Council officers to recover the illicit tobacco. 

Tests carried out showed that 4,000 of the cigarettes recovered were counterfeit, as well as all of the hand rolling tobacco.  

At a hearing held at Manchester Magistrates’ Court on Thursday, 12 January 2022, Dulovi pleaded guilty to all offences on behalf of himself and the company – Superstore 1017 Ltd. 

Offences related to breaches of the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015 and the Trade Marks Act 1994. 

Dulovi was ordered to complete 100 hours of unpaid work, as well as pay £1,000 in costs and a £95 victim surcharge. 

He was also disqualified from being the director of a company for three years. 

The Company was ordered to pay a £2,000 fine, costs of £1,000 and a victim surcharge of £190. 

All items seized by the Council as part of this enforcement action were forfeited and will be destroyed. 

Councillor Lee-Ann Igbon, Executive Member for Vibrant Neighbourhoods said: “I am incredibly pleased to see the hard work of our enforcement officers and legal team pay off through this successful prosecution. 

“Illicit tobacco poses a genuine threat to our communities. It undermines legitimate businesses, as well as posing a significant risk to public health. To strengthen our communities we want to cut off access to cheap and illegal tobacco that can only endanger the lives of our residents. 

“This has been a positive start to 2023, but I want to assure residents that our work will continue throughout the year as we work to stamp out crime in Manchester.” 

Kate Pike, Trading Standards North West Lead on Tobacco, said: “The lengths that people go to, to sell illegal tobacco to children, even in school uniform, are quite astonishing. The illegal tobacco trade is run by criminals who exploit other vulnerable people, such as care leavers and immigrants. Many of these individuals are taken advantage of and coerced into living in horrible conditions, smuggling products and acting as a front for gangs involved in organised crime.” 

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