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Illegal cigarettes and tobacco found in home and newsagents

Published November 10, 2022 9.31am

Two men have been ordered to pay over £1,000 for selling illegal cigarettes and tobacco in County Durham.

Our Trading Standards team took legal action against Kenneth Allen after he was found to be selling illegal cigarettes from his home in Wasdale Close, Peterlee.

Officers were made aware of the allegation after reports received through Keep It Out highlighted tobacco products were being sold from Allen's address.

Anyone who believes they may have information on the sale of illicit tobacco can report it anonymously through the Keep it out hotline: 0300 999 0000

Test purchase

A test purchase was made at the property, where an officer was sold four packs of cigarettes with Richmond branding for £20.

The cigarettes were inspected, and it was found that the packaging did not follow the required standardised format, and did not contain any health warnings or related images, or any serial numbers.

A warrant was issued to search the property, where officers found and seized 65 packs of Richmond-branded cigarettes, which were later confirmed as counterfeit.

Allen, 62, appeared at Peterlee Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing and selling counterfeit goods and one count of possession for supply of cigarettes that did not contain the required combined health warnings.

He was issued with an electronically monitored curfew order for six weeks and told to pay £250 costs and a £114 victim surcharge.

Shop inspection

We also took legal action against James Millican, of Kingswell in Morpeth, for selling illegal products following a test purchase at his shop in Burnopfield.

Officers carried out a search of the premises, where six pouches of 50g of Turner hand-rolling tobacco and ten pouches of 50g of Amber Leaf tobacco were found, both of which did not comply with the requirements of the standardised packaging regulations.

A search of the rear storage area found a further 15 pouches of Turner tobacco and 34 pouches of Amber Leaf tobacco. These products were seized and inspected by an HMRC officer who confirmed that UK duty was not paid on the products.

Millican, 43, appeared at Peterlee Magistrates Court and pleaded guilty to six counts of supplying illegal tobacco and one count of keeping unlawfully imported goods.

He was ordered to pay a fine of £200, a victim surcharge of £34, and £845.50 costs.

Community impact

Owen Cleugh, our public protection manager, said: "The sale of cheap tobacco products is widely acknowledged to negatively affect communities. Not only does it have a serious impact on health, it also brings crime and nuisance to neighbourhoods, makes it easier for children to get hold of cheap tobacco, and undermines the efforts of stop smoking services.

"These two separate cases show that the sale of illicit goods is a serious criminal matter, and we will take action against those who are found to be contributing to this illegal market."

Advice on how to get help to quit smoking is available online or from Stop Smoking County Durham by calling 0800 772 0565.

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