Council prosecutes Chester businesses for tobacco offences

A Chester business has been prosecuted for illegal tobacco and cigarette offences following investigations by Cheshire West and Chester Council.

The case relates to Easy Shop in Chester and was heard at West Cheshire Magistrates Court on 10 May 2024.

Kamil Khalid Mohamad (41), sole director of Easy Shop Store Chester Ltd, 110 Northgate Street, Chester was sentenced to a community service order for 12 months with a 200-hours work requirement and ordered to pay half the prosecution costs of £1,468.75.  Easy Shop Store Chester Ltd was fined £6,666 and ordered to pay the other half of the prosecution costs.

Test purchases in May and July 2022 indicated that illegal products were being sold at Easy Shop and unannounced visits followed in July 2022, when counterfeit tobacco and cigarettes were seized on two occasions.

Also seized were electronic cigarettes (vapes) containing five times the permitted amount of nicotine-containing liquid (10ml instead of 2ml).

The Council’s Cabinet Member for Homes, Planning and Safer Communities, Councillor Christine Warner said: “All businesses should be aware that it is their responsibility to ensure compliance with relevant legislation and non-compliance could result in stock being seized and destroyed, and, as in this case, prosecution.

“Illegal tobacco supports other criminal activity and has many damaging effects on our local communities, as well as causing poor health.  People may be tempted by the cheap price tag, but it’s worth considering the great cost to your health, safety and community.”

When passing sentence, the judge commented: “These are very serious offences. We are appalled this was allowed to happen. You sold counterfeit cigarettes and vapes to children and adults which contained nicotine liquid five times over the legal limit. People who purchased them do not know what the long-term damage might be”.

The Council and partner Brio Leisure have a stop smoking service for anyone in the borough who needs support.  The ‘Go Smokefree’ service allows residents to self-refer for support to quit smoking, giving them access to 12 weeks of FREE Nicotine Replacement Therapy and unlimited behavioural support for as long as they feel they need. One-to-one support is available in one of 18 venues across the borough.

All goods seized as part of these cases were non-compliant with the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations Act 2016.

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