Officers from Trafford Council’s Trading Standards and Community Safety teams have taken action against two shops suspected of selling illegal tobacco.
They raided Sami Swoi, of 101 Manchester Road, Altrincham, and Mo News, of 380 Northenden Road, Sale, after receiving information that both had a supply of illegal tobacco on the premises.
The teams conducted various days of action with partners including Greater Manchester Police, HMRC, and Environmental Health to target a number of premises. Sami Swoi was found to be selling and storing illicit tobacco and disposable e-cigarettes. As a result, the items were seized and a Closure Notice was issued effectively preventing it from trading further until a court has decided the matter.
The case was heard at Manchester Magistrates Court on Thursday 19 October, 2023, and an order was made fully closing the property for a total of three months.
Officers also targeted Mo News over the selling and storing of illicit tobacco. Again, non-compliant items were seized and a Temporary Closure Notice was issued to the address on Wednesday 18th October effectively preventing it from trading further until a court has decided the matter.
The owner contested the Council’s application for a Closure Order at Manchester Magistrates Court on Thursday 19 October, 2023. The Judge adjourned the matter until 2 November and the Temporary Closure Notice remains in place until then.
The closures were obtained as a result of multi-agency working involving several partners and multiple teams within the Council’s Regulatory Services department. Five premises were visited during the day of action and approximately 46,300 sticks of cigarettes, 1.5kg of hand rolling tobacco, 4,323 nicotine inhaling products (disposable vapes,) 26 bottles of alcohol and one pyrotechnic article were seized.
Penalties for the supply and sale of illegal nicotine inhaling products include up to 12 months imprisonment; an unlimited fine; and seizure of the proceeds of crime. Penalties for the supply and sale of illicit tobacco products are the same but include up to 10 years in prison.
A spokesperson for Trafford Council said: "The evidence is clear that illicit tobacco is a health hazard and a blight on our communities. It is right we have a zero-tolerance attitude towards illicit tobacco. A lot of work goes into supporting people who want to give up smoking and live a healthier lifestyle – illicit tobacco undermines all our efforts so we will crackdown hard on any premises selling or storing them."
Anyone with information on illicit tobacco can contact the Trafford Council Trading Standards team on 0161 912 1377, the North West Trading Standards Team on 01925 442 466 or Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.
Posted on Friday 27th October 2023