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28/02/2021

Cheltenham family fined for selling illegal cigarettes and tobacco

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Recently, a local shop was caught selling illegal cigarettes and other tobacco products near Cheltenham. He was dead before the judge could imprison him for his crimes. The police reported that relatives of the deceased, including the widow, were also involved in this illegal business. 

Later, they were all fined individually by the crown court for committing illicit trade. The undercover authorities purchased illegal cigarettes and tobacco from the store near Central Newsagents while on undercover.

The prosecutor, Allan Fuller, reported that the dead convict, Mohammed Sedoo, was aged 63 and was living on Falkner Street, Gloucester. Sedoo, who ran a local store, had already faced 29 charges in the past for selling counterfeit products, transgress registered trademarks, and nefarious subterfuge of duty.

While Sedoo admitted his charges for conviction and was waiting for his sentence, the other three members, however, denied any involvement regarding this counterfeiting business.

Prosecutor Fuller reported the court that all three relatives lived in the same address where Sedoo lived, which is at Falkner Street in Gloucester. All of them were charged with 14 other illicit operations out of which they pleaded guilty to few. 

Fuller added, “The shop was selling illegal products that are priced one third in the market compared to legal products. The undercover officer of trading standards made several test purchases since Autumn 2018 and Sedoo, unknowingly, kept on selling counterfeit products to them. The other three relatives also served at the counter to sell these illegal products.”

Warrants were quickly issued by the government to search for illegal products both at the shop and at the family’s home. 

Sarah Jenkins represented Sedoo’s wife, Maimuna Sedoo, 55, who explained that Maimuna was unaware of the transgression and was working on the shop regularly. The undercover trading standards officer entered the shop and made the illegal purchase of the products back on October 11, 2018, which she delivered. To which she pleaded guilty the next day.

Joe Maloney representing Shabnam Seedoo, the daughter of the couple, also described how she got roped into the family business. 

“She accepted her part in serving illegal products under the table to the undercover officers.”

Steve Young representing Sedoo’s son, Yahya Muslim, 33, announced that apart from all other members his contribution to the counterfeiting business was maximum. 

“Even if he sold products on behalf of his father-in-law’s business there was no personal benefit gained by hi during the process,” Young added.

Before sentencing the family members, Judge Cullum expressed his condolences for the dead by saying, “I appreciate the family members had to struggle through the tough times as well as deal with the burden of his loss.”

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