A Cowley Road company director pleaded guilty to six offences relating to illegal tobacco products, after the case was brought court by Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team.

Cihan Sigirtmac of Pak Halal Erdem Food Centre Ltd – which trades as Erdem Food Centre – on 236 Cowley Road, Oxford, appeared before Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Friday.

The court heard that on 6 May 2021, trading standards visited the store as part of Operation CeCe, a national trading standards initiative in partnership with HMRC.

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Oxford Mail: Erdem Food Centre. Picture: Google Maps Erdem Food Centre. Picture: Google Maps

The operation is playing a significant role in disrupting the illicit tobacco trade.

More than 21,000 grams of shisha tobacco in 113-unit packs were discovered behind the counter. 

Trading standards found that none of the tobacco products were labelled with the required statutory warnings and the vast majority made reference to a taste, smell or flavouring, all of which is prohibited.

Sigirtmac, 48, pleaded guilty to six offences under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and the Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2016. 

The company was fined a total of £3000 with Sigirtmac also being fined £600 in his personal capacity. 

Combined costs and court surcharge totalled £1,450.

The court also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the seized shisha tobacco.

Oxford Mail: The illegal products which were seized. Picture: Oxfordshire County CouncilThe illegal products which were seized. Picture: Oxfordshire County Council

Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, said: “In a typical shisha session of about one hour, a shisha smoker can inhale the same amount of toxins as a cigarette smoker consuming over 100 cigarettes.

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“Like cigarette smoking, these toxins put shisha smokers at risk of developing heart and circulatory diseases, cancers, nicotine addiction, and other health effects.

“We know it can be hard to stop using tobacco products but help is available. People are three times more likely to successfully quit by using a stop smoking service like Smokefree Oxfordshire.

“The service is free to everyone living in the county.” 

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This story was written by Sophie Perry. She joined the team in 2021 as a digital reporter.

You can get in touch with her by emailing: sophie.perry@newsquest.co.uk

Follow her on Twitter @itssophieperry

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