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Southend shopkeeper JAILED for selling unsafe counterfeit cigarettes


A Southend businessman who sold unsafe illegal tobacco has been jailed after a raid by Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Trading Standards officers.

On 22nd November 2017 Hamid Mashoudi of Ali’s Second Hand, 74 Sutton Road, Southend-on-Sea was sentenced to 16 weeks in prison, followed, on release, by a 12 month supervision order.

Mr Mashoudi pleaded guilty to a number of offences of supplying counterfeit, incorrectly marked and unsafe cigarettes and tobacco. He also pleaded guilty to the possession for supply of five unsafe household electrical appliances which were being offered for sale to the public.

Southend Borough Council

The business was raided by officers from Southend-on-Sea Borough Council’s Trading Standards team on 22nd March 2017, assisted by local police officers, leading to the seizure of more than 5,000 cigarettes and nearly 4kg of hand-rolling tobacco.

As well as being counterfeit and incorrectly marked, testing later revealed that many of the cigarettes were unsafe because they failed to have a “reduced ignition propensity”- a safety feature built into all genuine cigarettes to prevent or reduce the risk of house fires when a cigarette is left alight on furniture.

Southend Borough Council

Five second hand-electrical items were also seized from the shop floor sales area and, following examination, were found to be unsafe, with the risk of electrical shock to the user and fire risk. It would have been obvious to the owner of the business that these items were unsafe, purely by visual examination.

The illegal goods were also forfeited for destruction. The court also ordered Mr Mashoudi to pay full prosecution costs of £3,723.90.

Cllr Cox, Executive Councillor for Transport, Waste and Regulatory Services, said: “This sentence sends a strong message to traders thinking about dealing in illegal, dangerous or counterfeit goods.

Southend Borough Council

“We have a team of highly skilled trading standards officers, who will pursue these criminals in the interests of consumer protection to the full extent of the law. In this case, Mr Mashoudi has paid a high price – his own liberty – for the sake of quick quid.

“I would like to thank the diligence of our Trading Standards team for leading this successful prosecution.”

This case is one of a number of similar cases being taken by Southend Borough Council’s Trading standards team against the sale of illegal and counterfeit cigarettes, which are harmful to consumers’ health and robbing the public purse to fund organised crime.

Southend Borough Council

In some cases, rat droppings, dead insects, asbestos and other harmful ingredients have been known to be mixed with poor quality tobacco to be sold off as genuine branded products at a fraction of the legal price.

As well as cheating the tax man out of billions of pounds in lost revenue nationally, the black market trade is harming local businesses and putting smokers in serious danger of harming their health.

The sale of cheap tobacco and cigarettes undermines attempts to reduce the prevalence of smoking, and also makes it impossible for legitimate businesses to compete. Additionally, there are fears this illegal trade may be helping to fund terrorism and organised crime in the UK and abroad.

Southend Borough Council

Unsafe second-hand electrical items are also of great concern to Trading Standards officers, not just for the risk to the user of potential electrical shock, but also the major potential fire risk these products present.

Images – Southend Borough Council / Google Maps. This article is a press release from SBC.

The YORKSHIRE BEEF WAFFLEWICH has arrived in Southend, and it’s crazy


The Yorkshire Beef Wafflewich has arrived in Southend, and it is as crazy as it sounds.

It is part of the new Christmas Lunch menu at Mangetout, and it is billed as a ‘Yorkshire pudding waffle, with slices of melt in the mouth beef brisket, American cheese, fried onions, mustard mayo and served with fries and a pot of gravy.’

To be fair, the one they have photographed looks like it is stuffed to capacity, so we can see this one going down very well.

If that doesn’t tickle your fancy, perhaps the O’ Holy Cow Burger might.

Mangetout’s owner Will Fish said: ‘The Wafflewich is comfort food at its best, the combo of flavours works very well and I hope you all get to try one this December!’

These articles about culinary creations are always a massive let down when you get all the way to the end and find out that it is only available in ‘the USA’ or somewhere else (McDonalds are awful for this).

However, you’ll be pleased to know that this one is ready and waiting just off Southend High Street in Tylers Avenue as part of their Christmas Lunch Menu which is £18.95 for two courses or £22.95 for three.

Check them out on Facebook and Online.

Image Credit: Mangetout Southend

Do you have a story that you want to share with 100,000 people across South Essex on Facebook? Email info@southendbible.com and don’t forget to include plenty of pictures.

DISCLAIMER: The Southend Bible accepts no responsibility for any readers in Yorkshire getting the hump about this Essex twist on their invention.


Have a look at this jaw-dropping festive street art on Southend High Street


The renowned local artist John Bulley and his band of merry men and women have been giving Southend High Street a festive makeover, and he has told us a bit more about this project that has been made possible with a heap of support from Southend BID.

We Are Southend…

Of the community… by the community … for the community.

CR: John Bulley

Local painters, sculptors and film makers, tired of the lack of positive action in the area, have been given the job of brightening up the high street for Christmas by Southend BID.

To that end we are riffing on the theme of Father Christmas, from the Grinch to the classic 50’s style American Picture Post ads.

No poncing about, no intellectual posturing, just get on with it, and we have.

CR: John Bulley

The response from the local community has been brilliant. In fact it’s been hard to concentrate with so many shoppers wanting to stop and chat and congratulate us on doing a great job.

Positive action and positive response – it’s not rocket science it’s just good old fashioned hands-on skill and application.

Southend is full of incredibly skilful artists and artisans who just needed someone to say ‘show us what you can do,’ so we have.

CR: John Bulley

Without the support of Southend BID and the faith they’ve placed in us this could not have happened.

It’s amazing what you can do with a little common sense…

We are not special or famous ‘contemporary artists,’ most of us have day jobs to pay the rent.

CR: John Bulley

We are just part of the amazing local talent that’s been overlooked in Southend for too long.

We are Southend, we are the community.


Got a story that you want to share with 100,000 people across South Essex on Facebook? Email info@southendbible.com.

Heartless vandals wreck ‘community pantry’ that provides food for those in need


Heartless vandals have damaged a ‘community pantry’ in Southend that provides food items for those who desperately need them.

The Southend Little Free Pantry on Newington Avenue is a simple project where members of the public can donate and add a few items of food, and then local people who are in need can visit discreetly and with ‘no questions asked’ to take items for themselves and their families.

Although the majority of visitors treat it with respect, unfortunately a number of food items were removed and damaged on Friday, and the people who run the Little Free Pantry are now considering getting CCTV installed at their own expense.

CR: Little Free Pantry Southend

Believe it or not, this is the second time that this has happened in the three weeks that the unit has been in place.

The Southend version of the Little Free Pantry project was originally set up by concerned local residents Lara Mack and June Dillow, with this particular pantry run by Jo Bates and Maxine Gabrielle.

CR: Little Free Pantry Southend

If you would like to help keep it topped up and donate some items of food, the ladies would appreciate it if you could join their Facebook group here – simply leave a comment for them and they will tell you more.

Alternatively, just pop along to the Little Free Pantry on Newington Avenue at the Hamstel Road end of the street and you can place items inside.

CR: Little Free Pantry Southend

Hadleigh man trying to find National Service colleagues – can you help?


A man from Hadleigh who carried out his National Service in 1956 in Jordan is appealing to try and find some of the men that he served with.

John Davies, who is now 81 years old, served in the Royal Corps of Signals in Mafraq, Jordan, attached to the 4th Air Formation Squadron of the Royal Air Force, and he would love to hear from any of his former colleagues who were also carrying out their own National Service or even regular service at the same time.

CR: John Davies

His son Kurt from Leigh On Sea is organising the search, and after passing these photos to The Southend Bible he told us that hearing from any of his former colleagues would ‘mean the world’ to him.

He added: ‘My father has very fond memories of his time serving out there, and this is mainly down to the camaraderie with the people that he had the privilege of serving with.’

CR: John Davies

‘He has tried a few different ways of getting back in touch with them, but so far he hasn’t had any luck.’

CR: John Davies

‘I know that this was more than sixty years ago, but I believe that the power of the Internet could make this happen – I would appreciate it if everyone could please share this appeal and the photos as much as possible and we may just come up trumps!’

CR: John Davies

If you think that you could help with this search with any information whatsoever, please email info@southendbible.com and we will pass the details on to the family.

You can also get in touch with us if you have a story that you would like shared with more than 100,000 people across South Essex.

CR: John Davies

Basildon Council’s official website offers to dispose of your ‘chester drawers’


The official website for Basildon Council is currently offering to dispose of your ‘chester drawers’ for a reasonable fee. 

It is the typo of the decade that is commonly found on local Facebook buying and selling groups where spelling is usually an afterthought, but now it seems that Basildon Council is keen to get in on the action.

When you visit their page to book a disposal collection for a large item, one of the choices in the drop-down list is ‘chester drawers.’

The correct spelling is also there for some reason.

Either it is a typo, or there is a logical explanation.

Perhaps it is intentional in the way that councils are obliged to offer materials in a number of languages.

Their site now offers translations in Urdu, Gujarati, Mandarin and Jeremy Kyle.

I’m not perfect when it comes to spelling and grammar (who is?), but this surely takes the biscuit!

It’s the same kind of thing as ‘selling for a friend but on other sights’ and ‘it’s brand new and unused apart from the four times I’ve had it out the box since I bought it last December.’

’PM me hun not getting notifications on hear too many snakes xoxoxoxo.’

I’ll ask them for an explanation with some emojis or something.

Got something you want to share with 100,000 people across South Essex? 

Email info@southendbible.com. 

If social media typos ‘do it’ for you, why not check out U OK Hun on Facebook? Plenty of ‘fummin’ Facebookers on there for your delectation. 

Leigh chippy selling fish and chips for £1.99 on Black Friday


A chippy in Leigh On Sea has decided to join in the Black Friday fun this year by celebrating the big day with fish and chips on offer for £1.99.

That’s less than £2. This is not a drill.

We spoke to John Angeli at Fish-A-Licious at 808 London Road to find out more.

He said: ‘Cod and chips will be £1.99 all day on Black Friday. Obviously we are doing this to attract new customers, but we would also be delighted to see our regular customers pop in and enjoy this meal for a discounted price – especially if fish and chips isn’t something that you would usually be able to afford.’

‘Everyone is welcome!’

To be fair, the best way to usually get a good deal on cod and chips is to spend four hours in make up and then pretend to qualify for the OAP special, so this is good news all round.

They have a 4.5/5 on Tripadvisor as well, and bearing in mind that the site is usually full of miserable buggers having a whinge that’s pretty admirable.

CR: Fish-A-Licious

They are also very proud of their Good Chippy Award!

CR: Fish-A-Licious

In the interests of transparency, they have offered us a fish supper in return for this blog, but I will probably be there on the day with a variety of moustaches on anyway.

It beats getting assaulted in ASDA over a £99 TV any day of the week, and it’s nice for a humble chippy in Leigh to get some press coverage sometimes as usually the only places in  the town to get in the media are those charging £24.95 for an artisan gherkin platter.

Westcliff teacher writes and records a song about teaching in a single day for Twitter challenge


A teacher who lives in Westcliff On Sea has written and recorded a song all about her profession in a single day for a Twitter challenge, and the end result is pretty good!

We’re no experts when it comes to music, but we can appreciate the effort that must go into getting it all done between breakfast and bedtime.

Under the #VirtualTwitterRockBand hashtag, Lucy Rycroft-Smith, 32, came up with It’s Your Own Time You’re Wasting – an old-fashioned but nonetheless popular phrase that can still be heard across the profession.

Here are the lyrics:

Well 10B, you’ve done it now
It’s obvious that none of you are listening
I’ve been yelling incoherently
About taking responsibility
On most of you my angry saliva’s glistening

Well 10B, I’m striding up and down
It’s obvious that none of you are listening
I’ve been ranting irresponsibly
About my career trajectory
My prospects for Head are visibly diminishing

I feel my mouth begin to form the words and I can’t stop it
I’m losing control of the ball and I’m going to drop it

“It’s your own time you’re wasting”
As I sit down emphatically
“It’s your own time you’re wasting”
And I realise as I widen my eyes
The undoubted loser in this situation is me

Well 10B, you’ve done it now
It’s obvious that none of you are listening
I’m now eyeing the door dejectedly
In case a Learning Walk comes to wretched me
This class is not one I’d like anybody witnessing

I feel my mouth being to form the words and I can’t stop it
I’m losing control of the ball and I’m going to drop it

“It’s your own time you’re wasting”
As I sit down emphatically
“It’s your own time you’re wasting”
And I realise as I widen my eyes
The undoubted loser in this situation is me

But it’s seven minutes to the bell
I just have to wait seven minutes for an ending to this hell…

“It’s your own time you’re wasting”
As I sit down emphatically
“It’s your own time you’re wasting”
And I realise as I widen my eyes
The undoubted obvious cretinous idiot smug and self-satisfied lazy self-pitying..
Clearly the loser is….me

You can spread the Twitter love here:

Her inspiration ‘@MrEFinch’ has also had a go with the same lyrics:

Got a South Essex story that you want to put in front of 100,000 local Facebook users? info@southendbible.com


Benfleet girl raising funds for her sister who is suffering from meningitis and septicaemia


Danielle Burton has been in touch with The Southend Bible to tell us about her sister who is currently battling meningitis and septicaemia in hospital – she is currently fundraising to try and help with her rehabilitation and tutoring that will enable her to get back up to speed with her studies once she has recovered.

I am hosting a charity event in aid of my sister Amy Burton who is currently in hospital suffering with a life changing illness, meningitis and septicaemia.

Amy came home on the 14th October and felt very poorly, and luckily for Amy her mother Gayle’s initial actions were to look for symptoms and try to help her.

Amy had a rash that didn’t disappear when carrying out the glass test, and her mother rang 999 and the emergency services started to save Amy’s life straight away.

It was suspected meningitis.

CR: Danielle Burton

Amy was rushed to Southend Hospital, but was later transferred to St Mary’s Hospital in Paddington, West London.

Amy was placed in an induced coma and her parents and family feared the worst!

Amy is still critical and will be staying at St Mary’s Hospital, Paddington for the foreseeable future.

Amy was diagnosed with meningitis & septicaemia. She has had various operations on her leg due to the effects of the illness.

Amy is still in a critical condition and will not be returning home any time soon due to having intensive rehabilitation.

Many people that know Amy also know that she is always the girl who would say ‘hello’ and give you a smile – she is always with her family and adores her little sister Lily.

Lily is really missing Amy and if we can raise some money to help her rehab, then she can be back home sooner and be with Lily and the rest of her family.

Any money raised for Amy will go towards her rehabilitation and hopefully some tutoring so that Amy does not fall behind with her school work.

The family have also chosen for some money to go to the ICU and Grand Unions Ward in St Mary’s Hospital to support the cause and also to the Meningitis charity. Please see https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/amyb for the just giving page.

Amy’s home town community of Benfleet has already shown compassion by arranging a charity night at the Tandoori Parlour in Thundersley.

CR: Danielle Burton

Amy is someone who has always dreamed of becoming famous and she has asked for me to arrange for some celebrities to join us on her special night.

This will be the first night that Amy has been given leave from the hospital – she will then have to go back on the same evening.

Thank you for taking your time to read this. We hope to hear from you and hope you can help out and make Amy’s evening.

If you could possibly help by putting Danielle in touch with a famous face or two, please email info@southendbible.com and we will pass a message on.

Basildon girl, 5, treated to fabulous princess afternoon tea after heartless thugs ruined her Halloween


If you use local Facebook groups, you may have seen a story about a five-year-old girl from Basildon called Ava whose Halloween was ruined when heartless thugs destroyed a pumpkin that she had spent hours making with her mum Charlotte.

Here was the original post that was met with an angry reaction online – WARNING: strong language (and justifiably so):

Shortly after this post went online, the local satirical news website Southend News Network put out an appeal to try and organise a ‘Princess Afternoon Tea’ to try and help the distressed youngster forget about this terrible experience.

it didn’t take long for the good people of Southend to start flooding their inbox with offers, and within just a couple of hours it had all been arranged!

Carol Carr owns the ATTIC café on Eastern Esplanade in Southend, and she offered to set up a special princess-themed afternoon tea complete with arts and crafts activities for Ava and her mum – she often hosts these events at her seafront venue.

All that was needed was a princess, and Gina at Oops & Daisies managed to arrange for Tara Urquhart of princessperfection.co.uk to come along as the ‘Sea Princess’ to make the whole tea even more magical – we can’t say who this character is based upon for copyright reasons, but it goes without saying that she is friendly with a little crab fellow!

As you will see from the pictures, the afternoon was a huge success, and hopefully she has forgotten all about her Halloween horror now.

Image Credit: ATTIC

ATTIC owner Carol Carr said: ‘It was really emotional to see how happy she was. I’m happy that her Halloween nightmare is a distant memory now.’

The Sea Princess, AKA Tara added: ‘The Sea Princess from Princess Perfection had a fabulous time with Ava today.’

‘Ava was a lovely and polite little girl, and it was such a pleasure to meet her. The Sea Princess helped her make a crown, painted her nails and gave her a glitter tattoo.’

Image Credit: ATTIC

‘The ladies at ATTIC were very welcoming and put on such a lovely afternoon tea for Ava.’

‘Thank you to ATTIC, Oops and Daisies and Southend News Network for inviting the Sea princess to this special afternoon tea for Ava.’

Speaking after the tea, mum Charlotte said: ‘She had the best day! Thank you so, so much!’

The generosity of the community didn’t end there. The day after her pumpkin was attacked, a number of well-wishers in Basildon got together and made sure that she arrived home from school to find all of these!

Editor’s Note: HUGE thank again to everyone involved who made this possible!

ATTIC – Facebook / Website

Oops & Daisies – Facebook

Princess Perfection Character Appearances – Facebook / Website