Barking trader finally pleads guilty in court for selling illegal cigarettes

The owner of a shop in Barking caught selling illegal cigarettes by Barking and Dagenham Council Trading Standards Officers has been fined almost £1,000.

On the 21 December 2022, Trading Standards Officers raided Muntenia Ltd on Ripple Road, Barking and seized a total of 3,500 illegal cigarettes that were hanging behind the counter. Brands found included Vogue, Sobranie, Dunhill and Kent.

There were two shop assistants on shift who didn’t speak English, however one of them made a phone call to a woman, the owner of the shop, a Ms Shannel Filip.

Ms Filip of Honey Close, Dagenham claimed the cigarettes were for personal use and not for sale.

In March 2023, Ms Filip was invited for an interview, under caution, to explain the presence of the cigarettes in her shop. However, she did not respond to the invitation.

As a result, she was summoned to attend Barkingside Magistrates Court on the 21 January 2024, but once again this was ignored, and she didn’t turn up. A warrant for her arrest was then issued.

Subsequent enquiries by the investigating officer at her home address led to her surrendering to custody at Barkingside Magistrates’ Court where on 19 March 2024, she pleaded guilty to two counts of supplying tobacco products in packaging contrary to permitted colouring and two counts of supplying tobacco products without permitted health warnings.

She was fined £460 (£230 for each charge, costs to Barking and Dagenham Council of £320 and a Victim Surcharge of £184, totalling £964.

A collection order of £200 was issued starting on Tuesday 16 April.

Buying illegal and cheap cigarettes can fund organised crime gangs involved in things such as money laundering and people trafficking.

Barking and Dagenham also has one of the largest smoke related deaths in the country and the availability of cheap cigarettes can make it harder for people to stop smoking.

If residents would like some support giving up smoking, the can contact the council’s B&D Stop Smoking Service by heading to the website: