Jailed: Illegal tobacco seller fails to pay £59,000 owed to court

A man who sold illegal tobacco at a Brierley Hill shop has been jailed after failing to pay almost £59,000 – despite having an expensive vehicle.

Ali Ibrahim Hamad was taken to court in 2019 after Dudley Council found he had been selling the items at Istanbul Mini Market on the High Street.

He pleaded guilty in April 2019 and was given an 18-month suspended sentence, 150 of unpaid work, and was also ordered to pay costs of £5,028.50.

A confiscation order for £58,923.09 was made by the court, which Hamad asked for an extension to so he would have time to repay the money owed.

However Hamad, of Huntingdon Road, West Bromwich, failed to attend an enforcement court hearing and a warrant was issued for his arrest.

Trading standards investigations found that since the original court case and the confiscation order was made, the defendant had acquired an expensive vehicle.

Hamad was arrested and was jailed for 181 days at Birmingham Magistrates Court on June 17, with the confiscation order standing at £65,905.45 due to the interest accrued.

Councillor Nicolas Barlow, cabinet member responsible for trading standards, said: "This is case of someone thinking they can evade the legal process and fail to pay the consequences they have been given through a court of law.

"The defendant hasn’t helped his case by failing to come to hearings and not repaying the confiscation order.

"I’m pleased with the result of the most recent court action. This once again sends a clear message to anyone in the trade of illicit goods that we take these cases incredibly seriously and the legal process is there to bring them to justice.

"We continue to investigate other claims of illicit traders in our borough."

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