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Trading Standards enforcement

We enforce over 80 parliamentary Acts and 2,000 supporting pieces of legislation.  Read our legislation enforced list for further details.

In doing so we recognise that while most people want to comply with legal requirements, some will operate outside the law (both intentionally and unintentionally).

We adopt a staged approach to enforcement, with advice and informal action fully explored to resolve the matter in the first instance.  However we will consider taking immediate formal action for serious breaches.  All enforcement work is undertaken in accordance with our enforcement policy.

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Animal welfare prosecution

On 3 December 2019 Mr Cameron Russell of Norwich pleaded guilty to the following seven offences at Norwich Magistrates Court:

  • One offence contrary to section 4 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for causing unnecessary suffering to a sheep by failing to act to protect it from accessing an unfenced ditch resulting in it drowning
  • Two offences contrary to section 9 of the Animal Welfare Act 2006 for Mr Cameron’s failure to meet the needs of sheep and lambs he was responsible for to the extent required by good practice, namely
    • The provision of a suitable safe environment, and
    • The protection from pain, suffering and injury of two lame sheep
  • Four offences contrary to Regulation 7 of the Welfare of Farmed Animals (England) Regulations 2007 for Mr Cameron’s failure to take reasonable steps to ensure farmed animals he was responsible for:
    • Were protected from risks to their health
    • Had access to a suitable water supply
    • Were in a state of well-being
    • Were cared for appropriately and without delay

The offences relate to a period of time in April this year when Mr Russell grazed 60 sheep and 15 lambs on rented land at Loddon. The landowner contacted Trading Standards to raise concerns about the manner in which Mr Russell was keeping his sheep. The land needed fencing and sheep were being put at risk by the open access to water dykes. This was compounded by the fact that the sheep were not being provided with water. Joint visits by a Trading Standards Officer and a vet from the Animal and Plant Health Agency (APHA) were carried out at the site and advice and formal notices were issued. Despite this the situation did not improve sufficiently.

On the 18 April an APHA vet certified that the sheep and lambs would be likely to suffer if they remained on site. On the same day officers of the service then seized all sheep and lambs on site and removed them to a place of safety.

Mr Russell had previously received a number of visits to animals he was responsible for at various locations from Trading Standards Officers and vets from APHA following concerns and complaints made.

At Court today Mr Russell was sentenced to a 12-month community order for 150 hours unpaid work and was ordered to pay £100 towards costs Following an application for an Order by Trading Standards, the court also disqualified Mr Russell from owning animals, keeping animals, participating in the keeping of animals, being party to an arrangement under which he is entitled to control or
influence the way in which animals are kept, dealing in animals, transporting animals and arranging for the transport of animals. The order is in respect of all cloven-hoofed animals and poultry and will last for three years.

Trading Standards also applied for, and was granted, an order to deprive Mr Russell of ownership of the sheep that were seized. In granting the order the Court gave legal title of the sheep to this Trading Standards.

Confiscation Order

On 1 August 2019, at Norwich Crown Court a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 was awarded against Mr Sarhad Salari, subsequent to his conviction in June 2017 for the supply of illegal tobacco. Judge Bate agreed that the criminal benefit obtained by Mr Salari from his criminal conduct was £24,192.29 and the assets available to meet this payment amounted to £94,000.00. As both the investigating and prosecuting authority, Norfolk County Council Trading Standards is due to receive 37.5% of the criminal benefit figure. The court also awarded Trading
Standards prosecution costs in the sum of £19,000.00. 

Mr Salari was given a period of three months to satisfy the orders. In the event of his failure to pay the confiscation order a default sentence of twelve months imprisonment would be imposed. At the completion of this sentence, any payment would remain due with an additional 8% interest per annum. 

If you would like any further information about this particular case or the work of Trading Standards in general, please contact Norfolk County Council, Trading Standards.

Confiscation Order

On 31 July 2019, at Norwich Crown Court a Confiscation Order under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002 was awarded against Mr Haval Shokir, subsequent to his conviction in October 2017 for the supply of illegal tobacco. Judge Bate agreed that the criminal benefit obtained by Mr Shokir from his criminal conduct was £50,213.20 and the assets available to meet this payment amounted to £86,062.57. As both the investigating and prosecuting authority, Norfolk County Council Trading Standards is due to receive 37.5% of the criminal benefit figure. The court also awarded Trading Standards prosecution costs in the sum of £11,984.25.

Mr Shokir was given a period of three months to satisfy the orders. In the event of his failure to pay the confiscation order a default sentence of twelve months imprisonment would be imposed. At the completion of this sentence, any payment would remain due with an additional 8% interest per annum.

If you would like any further information about this particular case or the work of Trading Standards in general, please contact Norfolk County Council, Trading Standards.

Prosecution for sale of an unroadworthy vehicle

On 11 July 2019 at Norwich Magistrates’ Court, Car Shops Limited pleaded guilty to one offence under the Road Traffic Act 1988 for the sale of an unroadworthy vehicle.

Trading Standards received a complaint in November 2018 regarding a Renault Clio motor vehicle which had been involved in a road traffic incident on 15 November 2018.  The vehicle had been purchased and collected from Car Shops Limited at Whiffler Road, Norwich the previous day.

The road traffic incident involved a front wheel becoming detached from the car whilst it was overtaking a lorry at speed between Wymondham and Thickthorn on the A11 Trunk Road in the morning, shortly after the purchaser had dropped her children at school. It was later identified that the wheel nuts on the front wheels of the vehicle had not been tightened correctly by Car Shops Limited during their preparation of the vehicle, the wheel nuts had worked loose, allowing the wheel to detach itself from the Renault Clio vehicle and roll along the carriageway. Thankfully, the driver of the vehicle was able to bring the car to a standstill scraping the wheel hub along the carriageway.  The driver, who was very shaken, was assisted by a lorry driver and Norfolk Constabulary at the scene. The vehicle had therefore been sold in an unroadworthy condition which could have resulted in serious injury or death.

During the investigation, Trading Standards became aware that a similar incident had occurred on another vehicle supplied by Car Shops Limited in Doncaster in July 2018. Although Car Shops Limited had identified their IT processes required an upgrade to ensure vehicle wheel nuts were correctly torqued prior to sale, the upgrade was not implemented for three months and no interim provisions were introduced. Such an interim process could have prevented the second road traffic incident in Norfolk.

The Magistrates determined Car Shops Limited should be fined £6,667 and awarded full prosecution costs of £1,308.08 to Norfolk Trading Standards. A victim surcharge of £666 was also applied bring the total sum to £8,713.08.

Sentencing of international scammers

Further to the adjourned sentencing on 25 February 2019, and further adjournments of sentencing in April and May, on Monday 1 July a judge handed handed down prison sentences to Scott Wolfe and Katie Hope.  Both had pleaded guilty on 25 February 2019 to multiple offences including forgery, fraudulent trading and money laundering.

Scott Wolfe was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment for fraudulent trading, and a further two years for each of three counts of money laundering and a single count of forgery, all to be served concurrently.  He was also disqualified from being a company director for 10 years.

Katie Hope was sentenced to two years’ imprisonment for fraudulent trading, and a further one year for a single count of money laundering, all to be served concurrently.  She was also disqualified from being a company director for five years.

Speaking about the case Judge Bate praised the 'very efficient and clear way' Norfolk County Council Trading Standards prosecuted the 'unusual' case.  He also set out a timetable for a confiscation investigation of both defendant in order to determine the extent of any criminal benefit arising from the case (under the Proceeds of Crime Act 2002).

Premises licence revocation for Thetford off-licence

On 25 June 2019 Breckland District Council Licensing Panel heard the application made by Norfolk County Council Trading Standards to review the premises licence and the Designated Premises Supervisor for “7 Days Supermarket”, 44 King Street, Thetford, IP24 2AP. A premises licence is required for a business to sell alcohol.

Norfolk Trading Standards made their application following a multi-agency visit on 30 April 2019 which resulted in a seizure of over 15,000 illegal cigarettes and a vehicle by HMRC. Concerns were voiced to the licensing panel regarding the apparent lack of control of the Premises Licence Holder for the activities at his licensed premises and also the stated Designated Premises Supervisor who no longer appeared to be connected to the business. The application to review the licence was supported by Norfolk Constabulary who added their further concern that the Prevention of Crime and Disorder licensing objective was not being upheld.

The premises licence holder was not present at the hearing and did not send representation to the application. The premises licence holder had requested an adjournment of the review two working days prior to the hearing date. After consideration of the reasons and evidence provided for the request to adjourn the Licensing Panel determined it was fair and just to continue the hearing in his absence. The Designated Premises Supervisor did not attend having earlier advised it was his belief his involvement with the business ceased in June 2018.

The licensing panel considered the application and their due regard as a Licensing Authority to uphold the licensing objectives, particularly the prevention of crime and disorder. The panel was particularly concerned that the store had been trading with an absent Designated Premises Supervisor and there had been a number of breaches of the licensing conditions for the premises including not keeping an incident book or maintaining written training records.

The licensing panel determined that without their action the prevention of crime and disorder objective under s182 of the Licensing Act would continue to be undermined impacting negatively on the health and well-being of the Thetford community.

The licensing panel concluded by confirming their determination to revoke the premises licence for “7 Days Supermarket”. The panel thanked Trading Standards and Norfolk Constabulary for their continued work on ensuring businesses uphold the licensing objectives.

*Illegal tobacco is a term used to describe a range of tobacco products, including:

  • Counterfeit versions of popular cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco brands
  • Products legitimately available in other countries smuggled into the UK (so no duty is paid, and the products are not marked with the appropriate English health warnings)
  • Products made exclusively for the illicit market

Prosecution of retailer selling illegal tobacco

On 18 June 2019 at Great Yarmouth Magistrates’ Court Mr Aram Omar Mohammad pleaded guilty to the following offences, carried out at his retail shop at 23A King Street, Great Yarmouth:

  1. Two offences of having in possession, custody or control in the course of a business counterfeit tobacco products the packaging of which contained a sign identifying or likely to be mistaken for a registered trade mark; contrary to the Trade Marks Act 1994.
  2. Four offences of supplying tobacco products in packaging which did not contain a combined health warning in English; as required by the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016.
  3. Two offences of supplying tobacco products which were not in the required packaging, in compliance with the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products 2015.
  4. One offence of supplying dangerous products, being cigarettes which did not comply with the Reduced Ignition Propensity (or RIP) test and therefore did not self extinguish as required to meet the British Standard for such products.

Trading Standards received complaints at the beginning of May 2018 alleging the supply of illegal tobacco products from the premises.  Officers undertook a test purchase of illegal tobacco products on 3 May 2018, and then carried out an inspection of the store on 9 May 2018, during which 1176 packs of illegal cigarettes and 3.4 kilograms (68 pouches) of illegal hand rolling tobacco was seized.  Mr Mohammad later attended a formal interview under caution, where he confirmed that he had been the owner of the business since 1 May 2018.

The Magistrates determined that Mr Mohammad should receive a 300 hour community order, reduced to 200 hours for an early guilty plea.  Costs of £1,000 were awarded to Trading Standards, and a victim surcharge was applied of £85.  The Magistrates also granted a forfeiture and destruction order for the seized items.

This investigation forms part of a suite of illegal tobacco investigations undertaken to counteract the sale of such goods and ensure the health of consumers (especially the young, who may be tempted to try cheap cigarettes) is not compromised.

Prosecution of local conservatory business

At Norwich Magistrates Court on 5 June 2019 Jonathan Knights, who owned and ran Conservatories Etc. in Wymondham, attended court to face a charge of knowingly or recklessly engaging in a commercial practice under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008.  The alleged offence is one of contravening professional diligence, this being the standard of special skill and care which a trader may reasonably be expected to exercise towards consumers, commensurate with honest market practice or good faith.

Conservatories Etc. supplied and installed home improvements, in particular conservatories, extensions and double-glazed windows and doors. The company supplied and installed a number of ‘warm-roof’ conservatories.

These conservatories needed Building Control approval from the local Council and it is alleged that some customers were told either, that they did not need this approval, or, that Mr Knights and the company would obtain it, which they did not.

Mr Knights pleaded not guilty and a four-day trial is listed for November 2019.

Joint Trading Standards and Police operation to tackle illegal tobacco supply in Great Yarmouth

On Wednesday 22 May 2019, a joint operation was carried out by Norfolk County Council Trading Standards and Norfolk Constabulary. Inspections were carried out at three retail premises in Great Yarmouth. They were assisted by tobacco detection dogs from Wagtail UK Ltd.

Approximately 12,640 illegal cigarettes and 5kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco was seized from three stores. The products were found in various concealments: under counters, concealed within a wall and some in fruit juice boxes.

All the businesses were visited as a result of intelligence received from members of the public, businesses and Norfolk Constabulary.

In the past year Trading Standards have been involved in the seizure of nearly 1,212,420 illegal cigarettes and 881.55 kg of illegal hand rolling tobacco.

The action follows intelligence regarding the sale of illegal tobacco and is part of Trading Standards ongoing efforts to tackle the supply of illegal tobacco in Norfolk. The problem of illegal tobacco goes beyond the impact to the local economy through lost duty. Many of these retailers are selling to young people at low prices and putting their own profits first. Some of these retailers are involved in organised criminal gangs and are connected to other crime such as modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

Illegal tobacco is a term used to describe a range of tobacco products, including:

  • Counterfeit versions of popular cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco brands
  • Products legitimately available in other countries smuggled into the UK (so no duty is paid, and the products are not marked with the appropriate English health warnings)
  • Products made exclusively for the illicit market

Joint Trading Standards, HMRC and Police operation at off-licences in Thetford

Three off-licences in Thetford town centre were visited yesterday (30 April 2019) as part of a joint operation between Trading Standards, HMRC and Norfolk Police. In one shop, 15,920 cigarettes, 1.1kg of hand rolling tobacco and a BMW car were seized by HMRC. The illegal tobacco products were found by officers in a holdall in the shop and in a vehicle parked at the rear of the premises. In a second shop, a small quantity of cigarettes were seized, having been hidden in a freezer by a member of staff. Enquires are ongoing by HMRC.

This action is part of our ongoing efforts to tackle the supply of illegal tobacco in Norfolk. The problem of illegal tobacco goes beyond the impact to the local economy through lost duty. Many of these retailers are selling to young people at low prices and putting their own profits first. Some of these retailers are involved in organised criminal gangs and are connected to other crimes such as modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

Illegal tobacco is a term used to describe a range of tobacco products, including:

  • Counterfeit versions of popular cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco brands
  • Products legitimately available in other countries smuggled into the UK (so no duty is paid, and the products are not marked with the appropriate English health warnings)
  • Products made exclusively for the illicit market

Joint Trading Standards and Police operation to tackle illegal tobacco supply in Dereham

5,000 cigarettes, 1.5kg of hand rolling tobacco and over £1,000 in cash were seized from a shop in Dereham on Thursday 11 April 2019 as part of a joint operation between Trading Standards and Norfolk Police.  Officers found illegal tobacco products concealed within the shop and inside a vehicle linked to the business.

The operation took place following the receipt of intelligence relating to the shop, including reports of sales of cigarettes to children in school uniform.  This action follows an investigation targeting the importation and sale of illegal tobacco and is part of our ongoing efforts to tackle the supply of illegal tobacco in Norfolk.

The problem of illegal tobacco goes beyond the impact to the local economy through lost duty.  Many of these retailers are selling to young people at low prices and putting their own profits first.  Some of these retailers are involved in organised criminal gangs and are connected to other crimes such as modern-day slavery and human trafficking.

Illegal tobacco is a term used to describe a range of tobacco products, including:

  • Counterfeit versions of popular cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco brands
  • Products legitimately available in other countries smuggled into the UK (so no duty is paid, and the products are not marked with the appropriate English health warnings)
  • Products made exclusively for the illicit market.

Sentencing of rogue Norfolk builder

On Wednesday 6 March, a judge at Norwich Crown Court handed a sentence of four years in prison to Mr Miller, a rogue Norfolk builder, who was found guilty on two counts of fraudulent trading, and one count of money laundering.

Mr Miller was sentenced to four years’ imprisonment on each count of fraudulent trading, and 18 months’ imprisonment on the single count of money laundering, to be served concurrently.  He was also disqualified from being a company director for seven years and the Court made a Criminal Behaviour Order restricting his future conduct for seven years.  Confiscation proceedings, under proceeds of crime legislation, will follow and will include claims for compensation for victims as well as for the costs of the investigation.

Following the trial, the judge commended Norfolk County Council Trading Standards for a thorough investigation, naming the officers and support staff.

Illegal tobacco update - Trading Standards prosecution

On Monday 4 March 2019 at Norwich Crown Court Ping He was sentenced on the five counts pleaded to on Friday 15 February 2019 concerning the manufacture/assembly and possession of counterfeit tobacco products, contrary to Section 92 Trade Marks Act 1994.

In sentencing Ping He to twelve months imprisonment Her Honour Judge Moore advised she noted He had originated from China and was in the UK illegally and would like to return to China.  He had been before the courts in the UK in 2011 for offences contrary to the Trade Marks Act 1994.  At that hearing a 21-day custodial sentence had been determined for He’s possession and supply of counterfeit DVD products.  Against this He became involved in Trade Mark offences again.  His guilty pleas reflected his day to day involvement assembling and possessing tobacco to be sold off as genuine tobacco products.  The size of the seizure was indicative of a manufacturing and distribution operation of the counterfeit products.  Her Honour Judge Moore acknowledged that He was only one part of the operation and her sentence reflected his limited role.

Her Honour Judge Moore also advised that her sentence allowed a deportation order to be pursued.

Premises and supervisor alcohol licence reviews

On 27 February 2019 the Borough Council of King’s Lynn and West Norfolk heard an application made by Norfolk County Council Trading Standards to review the premises licence for Seven Days, a convenience store on London Road, King’s Lynn, and the position of the current designated premises supervisor.  A premises licence is required for a business to legally sell alcohol.

The Borough Council revoked the premises licence and, in their determination at the conclusion of the review hearing, also removed the current incumbent from their position as designated premises supervisor.

This application was made by Norfolk Trading Standards following a test purchase and seizure of counterfeit illegal tobacco products at Seven Days and an associated HMRC seizure of alcohol which had not been sourced from approved wholesalers.  The application was supported by Norfolk Constabulary who attended to represent their support.

In considering the application the licensing panel expressed their concern about the gravity and scale of the illegal activity associated with the premises and confirmed their due regard as a licensing authority to uphold the licensing objectives, particularly the prevention of crime and disorder.  They were also concerned about the potential negative impact on the health and well-being of the local community.

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