Smoked out! Shopkeeper ordered to pay almost £6k for illegal cigarettes

Illegal Cigarettes

A shopkeeper who was smoked out by trading standards has been ordered to pay almost £6k after illegal cigarettes were found hidden behind crisp packets, drinks and spices.

  • Brent and Harrow Trading Standards swoop in on reoffending dodgy trader
  • Tobacco found hidden behind spices, juice drinks and water bottles
  • Kapoor and his business found guilty of 9 offences and ordered to pay £5712.00

Smoking is bad – what’s worse is those who sell illegal and potentially dangerous cigarettes. That’s what happened in a joint investigation with Brent and Harrow trading standards officers, a specially trained sniffer dog and officers from HMRC revealed that a re-offending shop owner was hiding illegal tobacco behind spices and drink bottles. He was ordered to pay in total £5712.00.

Diljeet Kapoor from Hayes – owner of MG Superstore and Myra Supermarket, (both in Wealdstone) was no stranger to trading standards officers - he was fined previously for similar offences in 2016. He came under the radar again when they discovered large quantities of cigarettes with no correct health warning labels or packaging. In his second store they again found large quantities hidden behind crisp packets and even found in boxes which were labelled as containing bottles of water.

Cllr Varsha Parmar said, cabinet member for environment said:

“Kapoor once again tried to beat the law but it again caught up with him. These tobacco products are illegal for a reason – no one knows what is inside them or the damage they can do. The law is there to protect people and those who play with fire will get burned.”

At Willesden Magistrates court, Kapoor pleaded guilty to 9 offences, 4 as a director and 5 as a sole trader. He also pleaded guilty on behalf of the company to 4 offences.

Simon Legg, Head of Service at Brent and Harrow Trading Standards Service said:

“Our job is to protect consumers and take action against businesses and traders who try and undercut their completion and flout the rules for their own greed. Kapoor tried to deceive us again, but unfortunately for him our officers are trained and will use sniffer dogs to suss out those who try and hide their illegal wares. He continued to sell dodgy tobacco despite a previous conviction and that is completely unacceptable. We’re going to continue to crack down on those carrying out illegal activities – there is no hiding from us.”

Mr Kapoor was fined £200 for each offence making a total of £1800, a victim surcharge of £170 and ordered to pay costs of £1,326. His company,  Rimi Food & Wine ltd was also fined £200 for each offence making a total of £800, a victim surcharge of £80 and ordered to pay costs of £1,536, making the total cost £5712.

The prosecution came at the end of the month long London Illegal Tobacco Campaign which Brent and Harrow Trading Standards participated in. The campaign sought to raise awareness about the harm caused by illegal tobacco and encourage members of the public to report anyone selling it. As part of the campaign officers seized illicit cigarettes in Harrow Town Centre using a sniffer dog.

If you know of a business selling illegal tobacco, report them to Trading Standards via Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06.