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Former Stockton shop owner pays price for under age and counterfeit sales

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

The former operator of a Stockton convenience store, which sold alcohol to under-age children and also sold counterfeit cigarettes, has been ordered to pay a total of £1,990.

Alex Issmat, 32, also known as Abdul Kahir Issmat Muhammed, of Ezard Street, Stockton, was prosecuted by Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on 20 October. 

The court heard that during a test purchasing operation on 24 July 2014, organised by the Council’s Trading Standards Team, 16-year-old volunteers were sold alcohol at European Foods on Hartington Road in Stockton.

At this time Mr Issmat was the premise licence holder and designated premises supervisor of the shop.  On 6 August 2014 a search warrant was executed and quantities of counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco were seized.

The court also heard that in October 2014 European Foods’ premises licence to sell alcohol was revoked by the Council’s Licensing Committee after the store became a focal point for anti-social behaviour. 

Mr Issmat pleaded guilty to two offences under the Licencing Act 2003 and the Trade Marks Act 1994.  He was fined £270 and ordered to pay £1,700 in costs and a victim surcharge of £20.   

In mitigation, Mr Issmat said that he had effectively walked away from the premises in the summer of 2014 due to the ill health of his mother and that he had not taken steps to ensure that the premises was handed over and the licence signed over accordingly.  

At court Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council requested a forfeiture and destruction order of all the items seized and also requested that the court order the forfeiture of Mr Issmat’s personal alcohol licence.  The court agreed and Mr Issmat was asked to submit his personal licence to the Council within 14 days.  

Councillor Steve Nelson, Cabinet Member for Access, Communities and Community Safety at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “Our residents’ safety and the reduction of crime is of utmost importance to us and our Trading Standards team play an important front line role in protecting people from underage and counterfeit sales.

“We take all reports of retailers illegally selling alcohol to children very seriously because we know of the dangers this poses to our young people and the wider community.  All cigarettes are harmful but counterfeit products, such as those sold by Mr Issmat, can be particularly dangerous.  

“Anyone concerned about counterfeit products or retailers selling goods to underage children should contact Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council’s Trading Standards team on 01642 526560.” 

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