Shop worker sentenced for selling illegal tobacco

A shop worker who was caught with illegal tobacco and cigarettes at a shop in Telford has been ordered to pay more than £2,500 in fines and lost duty.

 Gurmale Bhakar, 35, was sentenced at Telford Magistrates Court for selling non-UK duty paid cigarettes and tobacco at the Finger Road Stores.
Bhakar, from Telford, was found with 4,140 cigarettes and 1.15kg of hand-rolling tobacco worth more than £1,570 in lost duty. He was caught in a joint operation to disrupt the sale and supply of illegal tobacco and alcohol in Telford and Shrewsbury.
Officers from HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), with support from West Mercia Police and Telford and Shropshire Trading Standards, visited Finger Road Stores, along with four other shops and two self-storage units on February 1 this year.
Officers found cigarettes and tobacco behind the counter, in the storage area, and in the foot well of a seized vehicle. They also found a number of notepads containing lists and prices. Nick Stone, Assistant Director, Fraud Investigation Service, HMRC, said:
“The sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol will not be tolerated by us or our partner agencies. Disrupting criminal trade is at the heart of our strategy to clampdown on the illicit tobacco market, which costs the UK around £2.5 billion a year, and the sale of illicit alcohol which costs the UK around £1.3 billion per year.
“This is theft from the taxpayer and undermines legitimate traders. Anyone with information about the illegal sale of tobacco or alcohol can contact 0800 788 887.”
The visits in Telford and Shrewsbury uncovered more than 25,000 cigarettes, 18 kilos of hand-rolling tobacco and nearly 3,500 litres of alcohol.
Information about any type of tax fraud can be reported to HMRC online.


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