News item

Jail sentence for seller of illicit tobacco and DVDs

Hull City Council’s Trading Standards has worked with HM Revenue and Customs to prosecute a Hull shop owner for the possession of illicit tobacco and counterfeit DVDs.

Mr Ari Safay, 26 attended Hull Magistrates Court on Tuesday 21 February having previously pleaded guilty to four offences under the Tobacco Products (Manufacture, Presentation and Sale) (Safety) Regulations 2007 which prohibit the sale of foreign labelled cigarettes in the UK. He also pleaded guilty to seven Trade Mark and Video recording offences for the possession for sale of the illegally counterfeit DVD’s and  tobacco.

Mr Safay was imprisoned for four months in total and ordered to pay £2,450 costs.

Between 14 October 2010 and 17 June 2011 Officers from Hull City Council Trading Standards and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs Inland Detection Team inspected Olivia European Supermarket, 235 Beverley Road and B & K Kubus,102 Springbank Hull, on four occasions. During each visit illicit non-duty paid foreign labelled cigarettes were found and seized by the Officers. Further inspections of Skokrotka European Supermarket 224 Beverley Road, Hull by Officers in January 2012, detected more illicit tobacco on the premises.

In total 1,080 packets of foreign cigarettes labelled with "L&M", "Jin Ling" and "Marlborough" brands were seized having been concealed in different locations in the shops. In addition, 4 packets of hand rolling tobacco labelled "Golden Virginia" were also found. These packets of tobacco were later identified as counterfeit products.

In June 2011, Trading Standards Officers found 170 counterfeit DVD’s at two of the shops which Safay admitted he owned.  

Mr Safay was interviewed by Trading Standards Officers in July 2011 and warned to stop selling illicit cigarettes.  He was previously warned in January 2011.  However he ignored both warnings and was caught again twice in January 2012 having concealed a further 360 packets.

Councillor John Hewitt, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods and Communities said: "We are committed to working with our partners to carry out prosecutions like this, to make Hull a safer and healthier place to live and work. We will use all the powers at our disposal to deal with those who break the law, to protect both the public and businesses that seek to make an honest living."

Maddy Ratnett from HMRC, said: "Low cost tobacco and alcohol products can often seem very attractive to local people, lured into purchasing them at what seem like bargain prices. However, the truth is these goods have been smuggled and are unregulated often containing harmful chemicals.

"Those involved are not concerned if they are selling to children and underage young people and the illicit trade has a devastating impact on legitimate retailers and the local community. We will continue to work with our colleagues in Trading Standards to deter and disrupt this illegal and damaging trade, if any member of the public has information please call our 24 hour hotline on 0800 59 5000 or call Hull City Council on 01482 300 300."