The owner of a Hereford shop has been sentenced to 20 months in prison after pleading guilty to offences relating to the sale of illegal tobacco.

Tarik Abdullah Dosky, 52, of Waggoners Way, the owner of International Food on Commercial Road in Hereford, was sentenced at Worcester Crown Court on January 23.

He pleaded guilty to seven offences of selling and possession for sale of illegal and counterfeit tobacco, for failing to have English Health warnings on packaging and failing to have plain packaging.

The sentence follows the granting of a three-month emergency closure order against International Food, which was issued on October 15, 2018.

Mr Dosky had run the International Food store since January 2018 and became the legal owner in July last year.

The case was taken to court by Herefordshire Council’s Trading Standards service.

Worcester Crown Court was told that a successful raid took place in October 2018 by the council’s trading standards and West Mercia Police, with help from Hereford & Worcester Fire and Rescue Service, as part of a Multi Agency Targeted Enforcement Strategy operation.

Ingenious, remotely-controlled hydraulic concealments full of illegal tobacco were discovered, leading to secret compartments hidden in walls and the stock room floor.

Nearly 13,000 illegal cigarettes and 9kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco were seized, amounting to £7,000 worth of tobacco duty evasion.

Much of the tobacco seized was found to be counterfeit but cleverly made to look to like it had been smuggled from abroad.
The county council says it is committed to combatting the sale of illegal tobacco, and the prison sentence reflects the seriousness of the crime.

The sale of illegal tobacco seriously damages honest local business.

The council says it will continue to work in partnership with West Mercia Police to clamp down on this organised criminal activity.

Members of the public are urged to contact Trading Standards on 01432 261761 if they have information regarding the sale of illegal tobacco within Herefordshire.

Find out more about Herefordshire Trading Standards online at .