A Grimsby retailer convicted of possessing illegal tobacco has had his tobacco display unit removed by Imperial Tobacco. 

It announced that Karzan Salim, who owns the Arian News store on Freeman Street in Grimsby, had his tobacco display unit removed on Friday, 19 August, after being in breach of the conditions of his agreement with the company.

Last September almost a quarter million illicit cigarettes and 200kg of RYO tobacco were found in Arian News by North East Lincolnshire Trading Standard. Three products were seized: ‘illicit white’ brands Black Mount and Jin Ling, plus counterfeit Mayfair.

On 29 July 2016 Salim pleaded guilty to eight charges of possession of counterfeit goods under Trademarks Act. He was sentenced to four months in custody, suspended for 12 months and 160 hours community service.

Peter Nelson, Imperial Tobacco anti-illicit trade manager, reflected: “This latest gantry removal is another example of our ‘no tolerance’ policy when it comes to retailers convicted of selling illegal tobacco.

“Imperial remains committed to working with enforcement bodies like North East Lincolnshire Trading Standards to weed out and punish those individuals looking to profit from this illegal activity.

“possession of such significant amounts of both ‘illicit white’ cigarettes and counterfeit tobacco highlights the continued threat of this kind of illegal activity to local communities, while Salim’s regrettable actions also threatened the livelihoods of his fellow retailers in Grimsby.

“Hopefully this latest display unit removal will send out a strong message to any retailers looking to profit from this illegal trade.

“If you have any suspicions around its sale where you live, please act by contacting either the Customs Hotline on 0800 595000, or your local Trading Standards or Police. Remember, if you Suspect it? Report it!”

Neil Clark, trading standards manager for North East Lincolnshire Council, commented: “I hope this action sends a clear message to those involved in the supply of illicit and counterfeit tobacco in that it will not be tolerated.

“Those who do risk prosecution, bad publicity and – as this action has shown – serious ramifications that will affect the profitability and long-term future of their business. It is quite simply not worth it.”