Leeds city-centre shopkeeper fined for selling cigarettes to 13-year-old following a warning

A shopkeeper who sold cigarettes to a 13-year-old after being warned has been taken to court.
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Mengstaeb Kahsay, who had run Citispace Stores on Byron Street, came to the attention of West Yorkshire Trading Standards following a complaint about selling tobacco to children.

They sent him a warning letter, but in September last year, a 13-year-old volunteer entered the shop, under the supervision of a Trading Standards Officer, and asked to buy a packet of cigarettes.

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Mr Kahsay, 47, sold a packet of Richmond Kingsize cigarettes to the volunteer for £12.39, without asking for identification or challenging his age.

Kahsay, of Oxley Street, Burmantofts, was interviewed at a later date but gave no comments. Kahsay, who has since sold the business, pleaded guilty at Kirklees Magistrates' Court to selling cigarettes to a child.

He was fined £518 and also ordered to pay £207 victim surcharge and £500 towards the prosecution costs, totalling £1,225. The amount was to be paid in full within the next 28 days. 

A 13-year-old was able to buy cigarettes from Citispace Stores on Byron Street in Leeds. (pic by PA)A 13-year-old was able to buy cigarettes from Citispace Stores on Byron Street in Leeds. (pic by PA)
A 13-year-old was able to buy cigarettes from Citispace Stores on Byron Street in Leeds. (pic by PA)
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David Strover, of Trading Standards said: “The flagrant sale of cigarettes to children should not be happening within our communities. We wrote to this business to make them aware of complaints we had received and informed them a test purchase may follow.

"The health risks associated with tobacco are considerable and shops need to ensure they have systems in place to avoid selling tobacco to minors."