Up to seven million illegal cigarettes and two and a half tonnes of illicit hand-rolling tobacco have been removed from the streets of West Yorkshire, trading standards officers revealed today following the sentencing of a Bradford store manager.

Kirmanj Kareem Saleh was yesterday sentenced to four months imprisonment, suspended for 12 months, at Bradford Crown Court for selling bootleg cigarettes and tobacco at Bolton Road Mini Market.

Saleh, 37, of Great Horton Road, Bradford, admitted 13 offences relating to selling goods with false trademarks, supplying cigarettes without health warnings and selling cigarettes in breach of packaging regulations.

He was ordered to do 200 hours unpaid work and up to 25 rehabilitation activity days.

Investigators seized almost 5,000 packs of illegal cigarettes and 85 packets of hand-rolling tobacco from the store, the court was told. Some of the cigarettes were hidden in boxes of crisps in the store, others were in Saleh’s van and there were a substantial amount at his home.

Today, West Yorkshire Trading Standards said the Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health Programme, funded by the five public health departments, was helping people to stop tobacco use for good by educating the public and by investigating traders who supplied cheap and illicit tobacco.

The mini market was well known to West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service (WYTSS) because of the many complaints about it supplying illicit and duty free tobacco.

Warnings to stop the illegal activity were ignored. The total amount of illicit goods seized was over 95,000 cigarettes and 4.25kg of hand-rolling tobacco. The loss of excise duty on the seized tobacco would have been around £30,000.

The Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health Programme uses multi-agency enforce-ment and community marketing campaigns to fight the illicit trade.

Training sessions with thousands of members of the public and hundreds of frontline professionals have been delivered to raise awareness about the dangers and wider criminality associated with the supply of illicit tobacco.

Linda Davis, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Manager, said, “Illegal Tobacco is often less than half the tax-paid price of legally sold tobacco and this maintains smokers in their habit and encourages young people to start smoking.

“Far from being a victimless crime, illegal tobacco trading creates a cheap source for children and young people and encourages adults to continue smoking by eroding cost motivation to quit. It is also linked to organised crime, human trafficking and contributes to an underground economy worth hundreds of millions of pounds.

“This case shows how seriously the courts view these sales and this should serve as an example to others who might break the law and risk children's health.

“I would like to thank all the partners and members of the public for reporting illegal sales and encourage everyone to continue doing so to reduce the harm caused by to-bacco in our communities.”

To report a trader selling cheap and illicit tobacco contact the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 0000 or report it at https://keep-it-out.co.uk/ anonymously.

More information about the campaign can be found on the website and anyone wanting help to quit can find their local Stop Smoking Service at