Shopkeeper who attacked in-debt customer with a knife is jailed and more than £21,000 in counterfeit tobacco seized

A shopkeeper who sold counterfeit cigarettes and carried out an armed attack on a customer has been jailed.

By Kevin Clark
Tuesday, 09 July, 2019, 13:01
Counterfeit cigarettes seized from the Westlea Mini-Market

Trading standards officers seized more than £21,000 worth of bootleg goods from Ismail Maulud’s shop and home.

Maulud, of Meadow Avenue, Blackhall Colliery, was jailed for a total of 30 months at Durham Crown Court - 12 months for the sale of counterfeit tobacco goods and 18 months consecutively for a knife attack on an in-debt customer.

He had denied charges of assault causing actual bodily harm and possession of a bladed article was convicted after a trial.

Durham County Council trading standards officers visited the Westlea Mini-Market in Seaham and carried out several test purchases.

On one visit, the trading standards officers were sold two sleeves of Mayfair cigarettes for £80 by 41-year-old Maulud’s partner Catherine Flanagan.

During a search at the store, more than 400 packs of cigarettes were seized along with 106 tobacco pouches. A mobile phone was also confiscated which contained evidence of clients looking to buy cheap cigarettes.

A search at the defendant’s home found a further 3,450 packs of cigarettes and 388 tobacco pouches.

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In total £21,465 worth of counterfeit tobacco products were seized.

Additionally, £2,005 recovered from the search was ordered to be forfeit to Durham County Council, as the magistrates at Newton Aycliffe were satisfied the money represented recoverable property from criminal conduct.

In mitigation it was stated Maulud started selling the products as he was struggling financially after a failed business venture.

A three-month community order was imposed on Flanagan, 39, also of Meadow Avenue, after she admitted a single count of selling counterfeit products.

In mitigation she said that believed the cigarettes to be old stock and had only sold them once.

Durham County Council consumer protection manager Owen Cleugh said: “If you suspect illegal tobacco is being supplied either from a shop or a house you can give information anonymously with full confidence it will be taken seriously. The more ommunity intelligence we receive helps us to take more illegal tobacco out of circulation.”

Anyone with information about the possible supply of illegal tobacco can contact the confidential reporting line on 0300 999 0000 or visit www.keep-it-out.co.uk