A West Midlands shopkeeper has had his tobacco display unit removed by Imperial Tobacco after being found guilty of selling illegal tobacco products.

The company said Ari Aziz Mohammed, of UK Mini Market in Smethwick, had his tobacco display unit removed after being in breach of the conditions of his agreement with the company.

Peter Nelson, Imperial Tobacco anti-illicit trade manager, said: “This sends out a strong message to any retailer looking to profit from this illegal activity that there will be significant consequences if they are caught.

“Imperial Tobacco will not tolerate abuse of our tobacco units especially when they are used or associated with the peddling of illegal tobacco.”

“Mr Mohammed’s actions have threatened the livelihoods of other retailers in Smethwick and deprived the Government of much needed revenue.”

The company’s actions have been backed by Bob Charnley, trading standards manager for Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council.

He said: “The sale of cheap illegal tobacco undermines legitimate businesses and supports international organised criminal gangs.

“We hope that the enforcement action we have undertaken will send out a strong message that the sale of counterfeit cigarettes is not acceptable in the borough of Sandwell.”

Ari Aziz Mohammed was raided by Sandwell Council Trading Standards in August 2014. He was prosecuted on the 10th March in relation to selling illegal tobacco product, and was fined £500 and ordered to pay costs of £1,868 and a victim surcharge of £50.