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Shopowner caught with 6,000 illegal cigarettes must repay £43,000

Stephen Maunder, community protection officer with trading standards, with the goods found inside Kubus Eastern European Market

Stephen Maunder, community protection officer with trading standards, with the goods found inside Kubus Eastern European Market

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A businessman caught with illegal cigarettes and tobacco worth thousands of pounds has been ordered to pay back £43,000.

The Kubus East European Supermarket on London Road in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian BurtThe Kubus East European Supermarket on London Road in King's Lynn. Picture: Ian Burt

Sarhad Salari, who owned Kubus East European Market on London Road in King's Lynn, was found with the contraband during raids by Norfolk Trading Standards and police.

Norwich Crown Court previously heard that a raid in September 2016 found 6,150 packets of cigarettes and tobacco hidden in a compartment.

Salari was warned by officers about the haul, but when they searched the shop again in November, a further 3,140 packets of illegal cigarettes and tobacco was discovered hidden behind a fridge.

Jamie Sawyer, prosecuting, told the court during Salari's sentencing in August 2017 that a final raid in January that year uncovered 320 packets of illegal cigarettes and tobacco in a storeroom.

Counterfeit cigarettes seized in the Police raids on the Kubus stores on London Road and Norfolk Street.Counterfeit cigarettes seized in the Police raids on the Kubus stores on London Road and Norfolk Street.

Salari, aged 30, returned to court on Thursday (August 1, 2019) for a Proceeds of Crime Act hearing, where he was ordered to pay back £43,192.

Mr Sawyer said Salari benefitted from £24,192 through his "criminal lifestyle".

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He requested that the figure be confiscated from the defendant's available assets, which are worth £94,000.

A further £19,000 was requested to cover prosecution costs.

During Salari's sentencing in 2017, the court heard how the illegal cigarettes seized did not have required health warnings on the packets.

Speaking at the time, Mr Sawyer said: "This was something he ran parallel to the legitimate sale of cigarettes at his business."

Salari, of Figtree Walk, Dogsthorpe, Peterborough, previously admitted selling illegal cigarettes and packets without the required health warnings.

He was given a six month jail sentence, suspended for two years. He was also ordered to do 300 hours of unpaid work.

Devon Small, for Salari, said during the sentencing that his client was a "hard working" family man.

After the raid, which was part of a crackdown by Norfolk Trading Standards, Brian Chatten, community safety and fair trading manager, said: "Illegal tobacco is a big issue in Norfolk, as it is for the rest of the UK."

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