Money from illegal cigarettes is confiscated by Portsmouth City Council

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THOUSANDS of pounds made from selling illegal cigarettes have been confiscated by Portsmouth City Council.

Shopkeeper Omaid Ramazan Abdul Rahman, who traded at Fratton Food Store, in Fratton Road, was ordered to pay back £3,297.

Trading standards officers seized more than 24,000 cigarettes that were incorrectly labelled, with some specifically manufactured to avoid tax.

In July he received a two-month prison sentence suspended for a year and was ordered to do 180 hours of unpaid work.

Now the council has won a case against him under the Proceeds of Crime Act, which allows council investigators to consider the lifestyle and conduct of those convicted of crimes, and apply to the courts for confiscation of the proceeds.

The council will receive £1,236 of the confiscated amount, which will help fund future investigations. The rest goes to the court and the government.

Mr Rahman, who did not attend the hearing, was also told to pay the council £1,000 in costs. He must pay within two months or face prison.

Cllr Lynne Stagg, the council’s cabinet member for community safety, said: ‘This is the first time the council has used these powers and it has been very successful.

‘We’ll continue to directly target the pockets of those who break the law, ensuring crime doesn’t pay.’