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 Newham News Stories

Yesterday, 17:00

A debate about the future of a much-loved statue will be held next year, the mayor has said.

Yesterday, 13:00

As the Essex Investigator he solved cases across Newham. Now the PI shows reporter Mark Shales the dangers of the internet.

Yesterday, 09:00

Five companies have been given a total of £20,000 in grants thanks to The International Quarter Community Fund.

Fri, 20:09

London City Airport has reopened following a suspected chemical incident this afternoon.

London Fire Brigade

Newsletter Sign Up

Most read news


Show Job Lists


Cosmetics, toiletries, vitamins and more. Boots is the number one choice when it comes to purchasing daily essentials.

Read more

If you’re obsessed with Apple or just love a good gadget, this is a prize that will blow you away! An incredible £3,333 to spend on Apple goodies! How would you like to be the proud new owner of the Apple Watch?

Read more

Digital Edition


Enjoy the
Newham Recorder
e-edition today


Education and Training


Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now