A Worcester shopkeeper caught selling £10,000 worth of counterfeit cigarettes has had his licence revoked.

Ali Ahmad was caught selling fake cigarettes and rolling tobacco at International Market in Lowesmoor during stings by Trading Standards and West Mercia Police.

Some 884 packets of cigarettes and 124 pouches of hand rolling tobacco were seized, with a total street value of over £4,000.

Had the products been genuine, the retail value would have been in excess of £10,000.

Mr Ahmad was given a 12-month community order with 250 hours of unpaid work when he appeared in front of Worcester magistrates on April 8. He was also ordered to pay costs of £3,500.

READ MORE: Worcester shopkeeper caught with £10,000 worth of fake cigarettes

And on June 28, members of Worcester City Council’s licensing subcommittee voted to revoke the licence for the premises.

The review had been brought before councillors by trading standards officers.

In a report put before the licensing subcommittee next week, Mr Ahmad had said he was now “reformed” and had learned his lesson.

“I appreciate that I have failed in many ways with regards to the licensing objective 'prevention of crime and disorder' and I have now reformed myself,” he said.

Illegal cigarettes

“My business is heavily [reliant] on the sale of alcohol with it providing a large income and I am very concerned that provoking my license will cause my business to cease trading as I will no longer be able to cover overheads.”

Illegal packets of cigarettes cost between £4.50 and £5 on average, compared to more than £10 for legitimate products, and even more for packets of hand-rolling tobacco.

Government has, over the years, used taxation to increase the price of tobacco products to encourage people to give up, with tobacco use still being a major determinant in the different health outcomes seen in communities.  

Worcestershire County Council said its trading standards team is continuing to investigate criminal activity, adding that it is likely that there will be further prosecutions brought against those who sell illicit tobacco. 

Anyone who has information about the sale of illegal tobacco in Worcestershire can report it to the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 0808 223 1133 or via the Report-It page on the Trading Standards website.