Illicit Tobacco Trader Avoids Prison

Wednesday 19 May

On the 18th May 2021, Mr Kirmanj Kareem Saleh from Bradford appeared at Bradford Crown Court for selling illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco at his business, Bolton Road Mini Market, 1041 Bolton Road, Bradford, BD2 4LN

Mr Salah pleaded guilty to running a fraudulent business and was sentenced to a 4 month prison sentence, suspended for 12 months, a requirement to do 200 hours unpaid work with an additional 25 rehabilitation days.

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 multiple 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 hidden in the ceiling behind a ceiling light, in crisp boxes on top of the display shelving and in Mr Saleh’s van and home. Warnings to stop his illegal activity were ignored. The total amount seized was over 95,000 cigarettes and 4.25kg of hand rolling tobacco. The loss of excise duty on the seized tobacco would have been around £30,000.00.

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, “Illegal Tobacco is often less than half the tax-paid price of legally sold tobacco, and this maintains smokers in their habit and encourages young people to start smoking. 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

https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree