Posted on: Tuesday 22 January 2019
A Torfaen pensioner has been fined more than £200 and had £2000 confiscated after pleading guilty to selling illegal cigarettes at pubs around Cwmbran.
Brian Davies, 74, of Manorbier Drive, Llanyravon admitted selling illegal tobacco and cigarettes in a number of pubs in the Cwmbran area. He was prosecuted following an investigation was by the joint Trading Standards Services of Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent Council following an anonymous tip off.
A warrant was secured for Mr Davies’s property where 2698 packets of 20 cigarettes and 1755 50g pouches of tobacco with an approximate retail value of £56,000 were seized during the operation. A quantity of cash was also discovered at the property which led to a financial investigation being carried out under the Proceeds of Crime Act.
On Monday 30 July 2018, at Cwmbran Magistrates’ Court, Davies pleaded guilty to offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and, after considering his personal circumstances and early plea, was fined £216 and ordered to pay costs of £120 and a victim surcharge of £30. The magistrates also ordered forfeiture and destruction of the cigarettes and tobacco. HMRC have also provided evidence to show that this seizure evaded duty and VAT of nearly £45,000. Also, a sum of £2000 was confiscated as part of the financial examination which concluded in January 2019.
Councillor Fiona Cross, executive member for the environment said: “The sale of counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco is not a victimless crime. It affects genuine retailers in Torfaen and Blaenau Gwent who are being undercut by illegal, cheap and potentially unsafe products. Sellers of these products are seeking to avoid legal controls on their production standards, and may attempt to ignore laws governing how they are sold, such as the prohibition on sales to children.
“Counterfeit tobacco is particularly dangerous because it’s often made in filthy conditions, this is why the council is committed to developing the local economy and we will work to ensure all businesses operate on a level playing field.
“Our trading standards team work extremely hard to protect residents and tackle the sale and supply of fake goods. If you are caught selling them you risk fines, imprisonment, and having your financial affairs investigated, so I hope this is a warning to anyone thinking of making some quick cash by selling these items.”
“We would encourage those who find cigarettes and tobacco too expensive to seek assistance from the smoking cessation services and quit rather than turn to the illicit market. Contact Help Me Quit Wales on freephone 0808 250 6885.”
Anybody with information about individuals selling counterfeit goods can contact the joint Blaenau Gwent and Torfaen Trading Standards team on 01633 647623 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org