A COVENTRY man has been jailed after being caught transporting illegal cigarettes.
Sardar Sattar, 39, of Anglian Way, Stoke, Coventry, was sentenced to 10 months imprisonment at Warwick Crown Court.
He was found guilty after driving a van containing 18,000 packets of illegal cigarettes – valued at £63,000 – from London to Coventry last month.
Following intelligence from the council’s trading standards team, West Midlands Police stopped the vehicle and arrested Sattar.
He was then interviewed and a search of his house found another 950 packets of illicit cigarettes, with a ‘black market value’ of approximately £4,275, the council says.
On February 5, Sattar pleaded guilty to six offences relating to supplying illicit tobacco that breached trademarks, were not in standardised packaging and did not have the appropriate health warnings.
In sentencing, Judge Anthony Potter gave credit for guilty pleas, but highlighted Sattar was a trusted distributor of illicit cigarettes who was able to store them as well.
He said it was a professional operation and required a deterrent sentence of 10 months behind bars.
Chair of the licensing and regulatory committee Coun Christine Thomas said: “This case shows how organised the distribution of illicit tobacco has become with cigarettes being picked up from London, then stored and distributed to various shops in Coventry.
“It is through being able to react quickly with the support of our partners that this offender was caught and prosecuted.
“I hope the sentence acts as a deterrent to others involved in the supply of illicit tobacco.”
To report the selling of illegal tobacco, please call trading standards on 03454 040506 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org