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Council investigation leads to Confiscation Order for illicit tobacco sales

by Jonathan Kearney

The proprietor of a retailer in Kirkby has been ordered to pay back over £165,000 after being prosecuted for the sale of illicit tobacco products following an investigation by Knowsley Council.

The proprietor of Village News on Glovers Brow pleaded guilty to offences associated with the sale of illicit tobacco products as a result of investigations carried out by officers from the Council’s Trading Standards service in May and August 2022. This resulted in the seizure of a substantial amount of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco pouches.

There then followed an investigation by the Council’s Financial Investigator into the benefit obtained as a result of the criminal activity. This led to the Council’s application for a Confiscation Order to be awarded against the defendant.

The defendant, Helmi Hassan, appeared at Liverpool Crown Court at a Confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002.

Mr Hassan must now settle the Confiscation Order of £165,568.53 within three months or face a two year prison sentence.

He is also liable for costs of £10,000.

Andrew Donaldson, Knowsley Council’s Executive Director for Communities and Neighbourhoods, said: “The Council’s Trading Standards Officers and Financial Investigator have carried out thorough investigations to ensure the defendant did not benefit from their criminal activity. The outcome of this case should be a stark warning to others that the sale of illicit tobacco or other products will not be tolerated in Knowsley and that robust action will be taken by our officers.”