Cannabis man sold fake cigarettes in Sutton on same day

Mansfield Magistrates Court.
Mansfield Magistrates Court.

A failed Iraqi asylum seeker was convicted of possessing cannabis at Mansfield court on the same day as he was caught selling potentially dangerous counterfeit cigarettes from a Sutton shop.

Serhade Osmany, 27, of Forster Street, Nottingham, was convicted of three counts of selling counterfeit cigarettes and four counts of supplying a dangerous product in a trial at Mansfield Magistrates Court on June 3, after pleading not guilty.

Michele MacLeod, for Nottinghamshire Trading Standards, told the court that a test purchaser bought cigarettes from Osmany at Sutton Mini Market, on Brook Street, on November 27, last year, and then watched as a second man collected the packs from a car parked outside.

Police raided the shop, arrested both men, and seized 530 packets of fake cigarettes, which were being sold at £3 a pack, and 94 pouches of tobacco, valued at £2,530.

Ms Macleod said: “The same officer that gave evidence in Mr Osmany’s trial was also present when the seizure took place in the afternoon. The word ‘flagrant’ comes to mind.

“People may or may not be aware that they are buying illicit tobacco. But they don’t know that these cigarettes fail safety tests.

“These cigarettes won’t go out when they are extinguished.”

Greta Percival, of the probation service, said: “He says he had no responsibilty for any of the tobacco found in the vehicle. He accepts that the court has found him guilty.”

She said Osmany arrived from Iraq in 2009 but although his application for asylum failed and he has no legal right to reside in the UK, he cannot be repatriated because of Iraq’s current status.

The court heard he lived in accommodation provided by the National Asylum Support Centre and received a weekly £35 grant to live on, but was not allowed to work or leave the country.

Sarah Neale, mitigating, said: “He is trying to learn English but he is not allowed to engage with any education. He’s in complete limbo.”

She said Osmany had been helping a friend at the shop on the day of the raid, but now believes he may have been set up.

District Judge Andrew Meachin said: “You are a failed asylum seeker and your status in this country is in effect illegal, but I am told you’re not going to be deported back to Iraq.”

He sentenced Osmany to a two-year community order, with 200 hours of unpaid work and put him on a 12-week curfew, which will be electronically monitored, from 9pm to 7am.

He was ordered to pay a £60 victim surcharge and £100 costs. The tobacco was destroyed.