Following resident and business concerns, the Royal Borough of Greenwich’s Trading Standards team has achieved two significant successes against illegal tobacco sellers in Plumstead.
On 26 July 2023, a three-month closure order was granted at Bromley Magistrates Court against Plumstead Mini Market, formerly Kobis Mini Market, at 252 Plumstead High Street.
The order was granted following repeated seizures by the borough’s trading standards officers, of counterfeit and unsafe tobacco products and illegal vapes. On a recent visit a hiding place was found containing over 1,000 packets of cigarettes which were either counterfeit or did not conform to UK tobacco regulations. In addition, they also found a pipe being used to drop illegal vapes from a first-floor room.
Under the order, it is a criminal offence for anyone to enter the premises. This will come as much-needed relief for the local community after experiencing nuisance and criminality from the premises for over a 12-month period.
In a separate but nearby business, Cristi & Ramon Ltd trading as Magasin Romanesc, at 26 Plumstead High Street, was prosecuted on 16 August 2023. This was following seizures and test purchases of illegal and counterfeit tobacco products between May and August 2022. The business had been storing illegal cigarettes in a nearby business centre as well as using a ‘fake’ customer to hold the cigarettes to avoid prosecution.
Daniel Serban, Director; Robert Dumitru, the store manager at the time; and the Company pled guilty at the first hearing. Cristi & Ramon Ltd received a total fine of £12,000 with £15,000 costs and a victim surcharge of £190.
Mr Serban will have to complete 120 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £400 with a victim surcharge of £95. Mr Dumitru received a sentence of 80 hours unpaid work with costs of £400 and must pay a victim surcharge of £95. The total in fines, costs and victim surcharges amount to £28,180 with 200 hours of unpaid work.
Councillor Ann-Marie Cousins, Cabinet Member for Community Safety and Enforcement, said: “One of the commitments in our corporate plan, Our Greenwich, is to ensure that everyone in Greenwich is safer and feels safer.
“These successful prosecutions show that we take residents’ concerns seriously and will act against businesses causing nuisance and criminality.
“Responsible businesses and residents are affected by those selling illegal and dangerous goods and it is a credit to Plumstead residents that they have worked with Trading Standards to help prevent these activities.”
Anyone who suspects the sale of illegal or counterfeit tobacco products or vapes can report it anonymously online to London Trading Standards or to the national consumer helpline on 0808 2231133.