Islington Council recruits clever canine to sniff out £70,000 illegal tobacco

An Islington business and its director have been ordered to pay over £32,000 after their illegal tobacco and vape supply was uncovered by sniffer dog, Cooper.

In March 2023, Islington Council’s Trading Standards team seized 4272 packs of illegal cigarettes and 578 dodgy vapes from Naz Organic Ltd on Holloway Road, thanks to the help of Cooper, a specially trained tobacco detection dog.

The tobacco products were in a hidden cabinet to avoid detection. Their estimated value was £70,000. Many of the seized vapes exceeded the permitted tank size for e-liquid and the cigarette packs did not meet statutory labelling and information requirements.

Despite the raid in March 2023, another inspection of Naz Organic Ltd on 21 August 2023 revealed 321 more illegal vapes, and in November, they sold a vape to a 14-year-old during a test purchase operation by Islington Council.

At Highbury Corner Magistrate’s Court, Naz Organic Ltd and its director, Ako Faraidon Khadir, pleaded guilty to two offences under The Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 concerning the sale of illegally packaged tobacco products, a further two offences under the same Regulations concerning the illegal vapes, and one relating to a quantity of illegally labelled shisha. The company also pleaded guilty to the offence of selling a nicotine inhaling product to a minor, contrary to the Children and Families Act 2014.

On Wednesday 13 March 2024, Naz Organic Ltd were fined a total of £17,000 with a £2000 victim surcharge. Mr Khadir was fined a total of £6000 with a £2000 victim surcharge. The company and its director were also ordered to pay a combined total of £5578 in costs to Islington Council. Altogether, they were fined £32,578.

Besserat Atsebaha, Director of Community Safety, Security and Resilience, said: “Selling vapes to children is illegal, irresponsible and dangerous. The illegal tobacco market makes it easier for children to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit and remain smoke free.

“This prosecution sends a clear signal that we won’t tolerate traders who sell illegal and harmful products. Most traders in Islington operate well within the law, but we will take robust action against those who don’t.”

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