High Street shop fined for possessing illegal tobacco

A company which was caught selling illegal tobacco must pay more than £61,000 in fines.

J.S.G. UK Ltd, trading as SL Wines in Slough High Street, the director, Surgit Singh and the company secretary Jasmeet Singh, both from Hounslow, were fined and ordered to pay proceeds of crime at Reading Crown Court on 27 June. 

During an investigation in 2019, using tobacco detection dogs, £12,000 worth of illegal tobacco products were discovered in a van, registered to the business, outside the back of the shop. 

The products were seized by Slough’s Trading Standards officers. The products, including cigarettes, hand rolling tobacco, chewing tobacco and shisha were both counterfeit and breached labelling requirements that referred to the dangers of tobacco.

The company was fined a total of £1,120 for both the counterfeit and mislabelled goods and the director and company secretary were fined the same amount each. Costs of £11,200 were awarded against the company.

In addition, a proceeds of crime order was made against the company, the director and the company secretary totalling £47,111.43. 

The total judgement means the amount attributed to the offence was in excess of £61,000.

Councillor Beni Bains, lead member for public protection, regulation and enforcement, said: “Illegal tobacco is potentially dangerous above and beyond the dangers normally associated with tobacco, as the ingredients are unknown, quality control is reduced and warnings on the packaging is not in an understandable language for the majority of the people of Slough. 

“I hope this will serve as a warning to those who sell illegal tobacco that Slough Borough Council will seek out this kind of product and take a robust stance against such sales. 

“My thanks also go to the council’s Financial Investigators who were able to uncover the profit made from this illegal activity.”

Published: 29 June 2022