£228,737 fine, for trader caught by sniffer dog Phoebe

Tobacco sniffer dog Phoebe

A trader who was found to be in possession of illegal cigarettes and tobacco, has been ordered to pay £228,737 after a proceeds of crime hearing in Birmingham.

Pritpal Singh Khurana, aged 38, who ran M&S News, 62-64 Herrick Road, Birmingham had pleaded guilty to 10 offences at an earlier hearing (16 October 2015).

In addition to the Confiscation Order for £228,737 under the Proceeds of Crime Act, Khurana was also ordered to pay £21,263 costs.

The total amount – £250,000 – is payable within 3 months, and if it is not paid he faces two years’ imprisonment in default.

Birmingham City Council brought the case against Khurana following a raid of the premises on 8 October 2014, as part of a national crackdown on the sale of illicit tobacco – products which have either been smuggled into the country, illegally produced or for which no duty has been paid.

Trading Standards officers, working with local police teams, seized 6,328 packs of illegal cigarettes and 692 pouches of hand rolling tobacco, worth around £43,000 during the inspection. Most of these were found by sniffer dog Phoebe, hidden behind a false wall and ceiling and underneath a false floor in a toilet.

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