By Matthew Bates 19/06 Updated: 19/06 16:17
A FRAUDSTER who hid 250,000 illegal cigarettes in his home has been jailed.
Abu Baker Hama-Amin was said to have been involved in the sale of nearly £500,000-worth of counterfeit and smuggled tobacco products over a number of years.
When Trading standards officers raided his home in Benedictine Road in Cheylesmore they uncovered the huge haul with a street value of around £40,000.
But they also discovered four diaries written in Kurdish during the raid which - after being translated - were found to hold records of the sale of almost one million cigarettes and 8,000 packets of hand rolling tobacco.
And after a lengthy investigation by city council officers, Hama-Amin, 43, eventually pleaded guilty to his part in the fraud and earlier this month was jailed at Coventry Crown Court for 20 months.
Coun Rachel Lancaster, chair of the council's licensing committee, said: "The sentence sends out a strong message of deterrence to individuals involved in the supply of illegal tobacco products in the city.
"Any smoking is bad for you but these unregulated products are often inferior in quality meaning people buying these products are more likely to put their health at greater risk.
"As well as avoiding tax, legitimate local businesses also lose out as they simply cannot compete with these cheaper illicit cigarettes. It has also been proven that the proceeds from this illicit market can go on to fund more serious organised crime."
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