Owner of Somerset off-licence sold illegal tobacco

The owner of a Bridgwater off-licence has been found guilty of possessing and selling illegal tobacco.

Abdullah Ulgut, 46 of Eastover Food and Wine, Eastover, Bridgwater, was sentenced to a three-month curfew order at Taunton Magistrates Court on Tuesday 15 November.

Ulgut, who has also been tagged, cannot leave his home in Eastover, between 7pm and 7am from Tuesday to Sunday.

He was also ordered to pay a total of £2,560 in prosecution costs and a victim’s surcharge.

The successful prosecution follows an investigation by Devon and Somerset Trading Standards Service.

Ulgut was found guilty of keeping smuggled tobacco on licensed premises, selling tobacco without the required health warnings and defrauding Her Majesty’s Government.

In December 2015 officers from the service visited Ulgut’s shop in Bridgwater in a joint operation with Avon and Somerset police.

A specially trained sniffer dog found 1.6kg of hand rolling tobacco and 640 cigarettes (32 packets of 20) concealed in a carrier bag, under coats in the rear of the shop, under the counter and in a microwave.

HMRC estimated that the total amount of duty not paid was £479.00.

Mr. Abdullah Ulgut had previously been prosecuted by the service in July 2015 after illicit tobacco was at his shop in Bridgwater and in his former shop in Taunton.

Councillor David Hall, Deputy Leader of Somerset County Council with responsibility for Trading Standards, said:

“These are serious criminal offences.

“We now that the availability of cheap, illegal tobacco makes it harder for people to give up smoking and poses an additional threat to our children and communities because it is sold at pocket money prices by criminals who are not interested in asking for proof of age.”

Councillor Roger Croad, Devon County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said;

“Trading Standards are determined to crack down on the sale and supply of illegal tobacco and it is one of our top priorities.

“I would encourage consumers to continue to report those involved in selling illicit tobacco because their valuable information can significantly aid our investigations.”