Barking and Dagenham Council takes a zero-tolerance approach to businesses selling illegal cigarettes to its residents. This has been proven in court where a Dagenham business has been ordered to pay out over £3,000.
On three occasions in 2022 and 2023, Longland Shop on the Heathway, Dagenham was found with illegal cigarettes on its premises by the council’s Trading Standards Officers and a tobacco detection dog.
Hundreds of illicit cigarettes were found hidden in various locations including under the counter, in carrier bags and on one occasion a member of staff attempted to sneak them out of the back of the shop.
Despite the council engaging with the business on multiple times and giving them several opportunities to get compliance advice on what products are allowed to be sold in the UK, Longland Shop continued to sell illegal cigarettes.
As a result, the shop and its director Cosmin-Alexandru Taralunga were summoned to Barkingside Magistrates Court on Tuesday 31 October 2023 where they pleaded guilty to having in their possession illicit tobacco for supply.
The company was ordered to pay a fine of £1,000, costs to Barking and Dagenham Council of £1,887.50 and a Victim Surcharge of £400, totalling £3,287.50. Mr Taralunga also has to pay a further £120.
Councillor Syed Ghani, Cabinet Member for Enforcement and Community Safety said: “We take a strong stance against businesses selling illegal products especially ones that could impact on people’s health.
“The business was caught numerous times and failed to learn its lesson. They now have to pay a hefty fine. We will continue to work hard to crack down on this rule breaking.”
If residents are aware of businesses selling illegal products, they can report it to the council by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Alternatively, you can share reports on the LTS website here (Report consumer crime).