On the 8th June 2021, Mr Hishyar Gully from Dewsbury appeared at Leeds Crown Court for selling illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco at his business, Biedronka, 490 Huddersfield Road, Dewsbury, WF13 3ET. Mr Gully pleaded guilty and was sentenced to 10 months custody for the Trademark offences and a sentence of 4 months custody for the breach of the safety regulations. Those sentences were ordered to run concurrently with one another but were not suspended.
The premises was well known to West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service (WYTSS) with the Service having received many complaints about the premises supplying illicit and duty free tobacco.
WYTSS visited the business 5 times and seized illegal tobacco on each occasion which were counterfeit, did not bear the statutory health warnings, were not in the standardised packaging and were non duty paid. Illegal tobacco was found behind the counter, on the staff members working in the shop and in an unused vehicle and caravan in the stores rear yard. Illegal tobacco was also sold to undercover officers on 5 occasions.
Warnings to stop the illegal activity were ignored. The total amount seized was over 20,000 cigarettes and 17kg of hand rolling tobacco. The loss of excise duty on the seized tobacco would have been around £12,000.00.
On the 16th of March 2016, Mr Gully was found guilty and sentenced to 6 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months plus a 200 hour community order for fraudulent trading from the same business for suppling illegal tobacco. Gully was ordered to pay full costs of £4,391 and all seized tobacco products were forfeited for destruction. The Trade Marks offences resulted in a sentence of 2 weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months.
Mr Gully has continued to supply illegal tobacco from the business with a complete disregard for the law despite being warned several times. A Proceeds of Crime Act investigation has also commenced and a hearing has been arranged for the end of the year.
The Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health Programme, funded by the five Public Health departments, is helping people to stop tobacco use for good by educating the public and by investigating traders who supply cheap and illicit tobacco. The initiative uses multi-agency enforcement and community marketing campaigns to tackle the problems of the illicit trade.
To date the programme has taken nearly 7 million illicit cigarettes and two and half tonnes of illicit hand rolling tobacco off the streets of West Yorkshire. With more inspections planned in the coming weeks, these figures are set to increase. Training sessions with thousands of members of the public and hundreds of front line professionals have been delivered to raise awareness about the dangers and wider criminality associated with the supply of illicit tobacco.
Linda Davis, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Manager said, “Far from being a victimless crime Illegal Tobacco trading creates a cheap source for children and young people and encourages adults to continue smoking by eroding cost motivation to quit. It is also linked to organised crime, human trafficking and contributes to an underground economy worth hundreds of millions of pounds. This case shows how seriously the courts view these sales and this should serve as an example to others who might break the law and risk children's health. I would like to thank all the partners and members of the public for reporting illegal sales and encourage everyone to continue doing so to reduce the harm caused by tobacco in our communities.”
If you need to report a trader selling cheap and illicit tobacco please contact the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 0000 or report it at https://keep-it-out.co.uk/ anonymously.
More information about the campaign can be found on the website and anyone wanting help to quit can find their local Stop Smoking Service at