Crackdown on illegal tobacco continues with two traders taken to task in court

8 November 2019

Trading standard officer pulls back the lid of a cardboard box to reveal boxes of illegal tobacco


Two traders have been reprimanded by Willesden Magistrates and asked to pay over £6,000 between them after Brent & Harrow Trading Standards seized illegal tobacco products from their premises. These are the latest in a string of prosecutions this year. The law requires tobacco products to carry health warnings and use standard packaging.

5,200 illegal products were uncovered by officers at Mepani News in April. The smokeless tobacco weighed in at 20kg. Mr Karson Mepani, who owned the business in Kingsbury, pleaded guilty and was fined £2,600, including costs.

More than a thousand illicit cigarette packs were discovered at Carpathina Limited in Sudbury by an officer on a routine hygiene, health and safety inspection. Mr Iulian Frasinescu, who owns the business on Harrow Road, pleaded guilty to breaching regulations. The business and director were given fines totalling £3,506, including costs.

Amar Dave, Strategic Director for Regeneration and Environment, said: "The sale of illicit tobacco not only undercuts legitimate traders, but it also undermines efforts to reduce the uptake of smoking and to help smoker quit. Health warnings are there for a reason. I hope this makes other businesses sit up and think before putting profits before their customer's safety."

If you know of a business selling illegal tobacco, please report them to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.