East Ham shop owner fined over sale of illicit tobacco

12:19 03 March 2014

Illicit tobacco was seized and destroyed (pic HMRC)

Illicit tobacco was seized and destroyed (pic HMRC)


A shop owner who repeatedly sold unmarked tobacco even after it was seized has been fined £4,000.

Ismail Yusuf, 48, was visited at his Alppa Paan shop in High Street North, East Ham, three times by HM Revenue and Customs officers, and tobacco was seized each time.

He was also caught at Heathrow Airport on March 12 last year trying to smuggle 30,000 beedi cigarettes, Indian cigarettes that are thinner than conventional cigarettes, into the UK. A total of £8,699.97 of duty was avoided in total from all four offences.

Yusuf, of Priest Park Avenue, South Harrow, pleaded guilty to three licensing breaches and one count of possessing prohibited goods with intent to defraud Her Majesty.

Barkingside Magistrates’ Court heard HMRC officers first visited his shop on March 6, 2011, and seized 1,100 unmarked cigarettes and 450 beedi cigarettes.

In a second visit on October 23, 2012, 1,467 cigarettes and 650 beedis were removed, while on April 26 last year, 4,680 cigarettes and 2,040 beedis were seized.

Chairman of the bench, magistrate Adele Judt, said: “We were thinking about custody and thinking about community work but we decided not to.”

Instead, a fine of £2,500 was imposed for the offence at Heathrow Airport and a further £500 for each of the other three offences.

Yusuf was also ordered to pay £85 costs and £120 victim surcharge.

A destruction order was issued for the seized unmarked cigarettes.

Jennie Kendall, spokesman for HMRC, said: “This illegal trade has to stop.

“It is robbing the UK economy of vital funds, around £2 billion a year, which is money that can be used for vital public services.”

She encouraged anyone who suspects people or businesses are evading tax to call the hotline on 0800 595000.

Latest News Stories

Yesterday, 16:37
PCSO Josh Thurlow and PC Holly Hoare with Ralph

An officer who saved a dog’s life has spoken of his relief at the rescue.

Yesterday, 13:20
Man charged with Bow Creek murder

A man has appeared in court today charged with the murder of a homeless rough sleeper in east London whose body was discovered in the Bow Creek.

Yesterday, 12:14
London City Airport

Attempts to expand London City Airport are continuing, with plans unveiled to take it into the water.

Boris Johnson
Yesterday, 08:25
Junior doctors at a rally in central London last month

Junior doctors will not strike today after the British Medical Association (BMA) reached an agreement with the Government to resume negotiations.


Most read news


Section Boys, Big Tipper, Big Narstie, Lady Leshurr, Trapstar, and UFest street team members

We’ve got 10 pairs of tickets to give away to watch some of the country’s best and brightest urban music talent at UFest, London’s official youth festival.

Read more
Win a beautiful monochrome tunic dress with Great British Life!

Great British Life is offering a beautiful monochrome silk tunic dress worth £179 to one lucky reader

Read more
Nike Trainers

Nike’s motto is ‘to bring inspiration and innovation to every athlete in the world.’ With this in mind it’s no surprise why Nike is the preferred training gear for most A-list athletes. Get an extra boost in your run or height in your jump with £500 to spend on Nike trainers.

Read more

Digital Edition

Read the Newham Recorder e-edition today E-edition
Family Notices 24

Local business directory

Our trusted business finder