Illegal tobacco seller from Dewsbury hid 25,000 illicit cigarettes and 11kg of hand rolling tobacco

The seized cigarettes and tobacco products
The seized cigarettes and tobacco products

A Dewsbury woman has admitted selling illegal cigarattes and tobacco products from her business.

Patricia Gajdosova appeared at Kirklees Magistrates Court for selling illegal cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco at her business, Euro Market in Bradford Road, Dewsbury.

West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service visited Euro Market 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 sales area and in nearby storage areas. The total amount recovered was over 25,000 cigarettes and 11kg of hand rolling tobacco resulting in a loss of duty over £10,000 for the government.

The inspections and prosecution were part of The Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health Programme that is funded by the five Public Health authorities in West Yorkshire which is helping people to stop tobacco use for good by educating the public and by investigating traders who supply cheap and illicit tobacco.

Gajdosova pleaded guilty to all charges under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and was sentenced to 200 hours of unpaid work, to be completed within 12 months, contribute £600 towards legal costs and an £85 victim surcharge.

Speaking after the sentencing David Lodge, Head of West Yorkshire Trading Standards, said “Members of the public should recognise the adverse health, economic and social impacts of the illicit trade of tobacco products, including the linkages with human trafficking. In addition, the packaging has none of the hard-hitting images and messages designed to remind people of the wide range of health harms smoking can cause that legal cigarette packaging now carries."

Mr Lodge added that Illegal cigarettes and tobacco are usually sold at a fraction of the price in a range of locations such as pubs, clubs, shops, private houses and even by street hawkers.

Councillor Habiban Zaman, Member of the West Yorkshire Joint Services Committee which oversees the work of Trading Standards, said “Smoking rates in the UK are declining.

"Reducing the supply and demand of illegal tobacco is one important element of a comprehensive approach to tackling tobacco harm in communities. It is key to addressing smoking-related health inequalities and poverty, playing a key role in preventing young people from starting to smoke.”