Shopkeeper has licensed removed for selling illegal tobacco

Law Court

A shopkeeper from Bristol has had his alcohol licence taken away following an investigation by Bristol City Council’s Trading Standards team.  

Karwan Asad, who ran Church Road Mini Market on Church Road, was sentenced at Bristol Crown Court to a Community Order  for a period of two years, 200 hours of unpaid work and to pay costs of £4,376.40, along with a victim surcharge.   

Following the conviction, Asad was brought before the council’s Licensing Committee on Thursday6 May. 

The committee unanimously agreed that Mr Asad had failed to uphold the Licence Objectives and voted to revoke the alcohol licence held by him for his shop on Church Road.   

Inspections were carried out in 2022 by officers from Bristol Trading Standards and Avon and Somerset Police after complaints were received about the sale and supply of illegal tobacco.

The inspection found illegal tobacco, valued over £28,000, hidden behind a false wall.  

John Smith, Executive Director of Growth and Regeneration for Bristol City Council, said: “Illegal and counterfeit tobacco damages communities and harms legitimate businesses. Our officers work hard, in collaboration with Avon and Somerset Police, to combat the sale of all illicit goods, especially tobacco which can be extremely harmful. 

“Selling illicit tobacco evades tax and is unfair to honest traders. I hope that this sentencing acts as a warning to others selling such products that we take the issue seriously and will take action against traders who knowingly sell it.” 

This sentencing and Alcohol Licence revocation, in May at Bristol Crown Court comes after Asad had pleaded guilty to eight offences at an earlier hearing at Bristol Magistrates Court on Monday 18 March 2024. This hearing followed from Bristol City Council’s Trading Standards team seizing illegal cigarettes and tobacco during three inspections in over the past two years.