A Southall cash and carry owner, who was found with more than £500,000 worth of non-duty paid tobacco products after three visits by HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) officers, has been jailed.
Pius Sedani, 51, had been given two formal warnings for selling illegal tobacco and alcohol after visits by HMRC officers in January and December 2011, and asked for a third warning when he was visited again in November 2012.
In January 2011, HMRC officers seized 270 kilos of non-duty paid tobacco, along with Indian hand-rolling cigarettes. In December 2011, they found and seized 2,500 kilos of chewing tobacco, 5 kilos of shisha tobacco and almost 18 litres of spirits. On their final visit, they uncovered 447 kilos of non-duty paid chewing tobacco, and 2,520 cigarettes of various brands.
Sedani admitted evading £580,000 in duty and VAT on 3,250 kilos of hand-rolling, chewing and shisha tobacco seized at his Quality Foods store.
On July 22 Sedani was sentenced to two years and four months imprisonment at the Central Criminal Court and ordered to pay back £278,196 by August 5, or face a further three years in jail.
John Pointing, HMRC assistant director said: “Sedani was given two warnings, but persisted in selling non-duty paid goods. We cannot allow people to consider themselves above the law, and we will not hesitate to take formal action against those who do so.”