Barking shop keeper fined for possessing fake cigarettes
A shopkeeper in Barking who was caught with an illegal stash of cigarettes has been ordered to pay more than £4,500 in fines and costs.
Mr Haydar Koca, 49, and Mr Yilmaz Koca, 43, who own Variety Food and Wine, were caught with 980 counterfeit cigarettes, as well as a number of other foreign labelled tobacco products, stored in a business van parked at the rear of the Ripple Road shop.
The discovery was part of an operation by Barking and Dagenham Council’s Trading Standards team, which used sniffer dogs as part of a clampdown on illegal tobacco sales in the borough.
Councillor Margaret Mullane, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety, said the council will continue to target those who flout the law.
Saving a few quid could cost you your life
Cllr Mullane said: “This successful operation is part of our on-going work to target those individuals who put profit ahead of people.
“Selling illegal and counterfeit cigarettes is not a victimless crime, and we are determined to prevent these dangerous items from being sold in our borough.”
The pair were sentenced on Friday 28 September at Barkingside Magistrates Court for the possession of counterfeit and illicit tobacco products, after pleading guilty at an earlier hearing.
They were fined £1,400 in total, along with £2,987.16 in costs awarded to the council and an additional surcharge of £140.
Cllr Mullane also called on shoppers to resist the temptation of a bargain by buying counterfeit products.
“Although buying cheap cigarettes might seem attractive and save you a few quid - it could end up costing you your life,” Cllr Mullane added.