A man has pleaded guilty to selling illegal tobacco from his launderette business in Workington following an investigation by Cumbria Trading Standards.
Barry Bray, 72 of Nook Street, Workington was given a 6 month curfew and ordered to pay costs of £2,500.
Bray appeared before Workington Magistrates Court this week charged with selling counterfeit cigarettes and illegal hand-rolling tobacco. The goods were ordered to be forfeited and will be destroyed.
Following several complaints, Trading Standards officers visited the ‘Wash House’ launderette on Nook Street, Workington. A test purchase was made of illegal tobacco. Following this, officers inspected the premises and found a large quantity of counterfeit cigarettes and illegal hand rolling tobacco, which was seized. In total 20,000 counterfeit cigarettes and 112 packs of illicit hand rolling tobacco were seized.
The court case has prompted Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards to pledge that they will continue to take action against those selling such items.
Cllr Celia Tibble, Cumbria County Council’s Cabinet Member for Trading Standards, said: “These are serious criminal offences. Illegal sales of tobacco in Cumbria have a huge impact on people’s health.
“When these counterfeit products are sold, at considerably below the price of the legal product, they undermine the efforts to reduce the prevalence of smoking. They also encourage people who want to quit to maintain their habit.
“We will not tolerate the illegal sales of tobacco and will continue to take firm action to stop this type of activity by using our enforcement powers against those we catch.
“Our officers routinely act on intelligence we receive, as they did in this case, so I would encourage consumers to continue to report those involved in selling illicit tobacco because their valuable information can significantly aid our investigations.”
Colin Cox, Director of Public Health at Cumbria County Council, said: “Young people are particularly at risk from the illegal trade in selling counterfeit tobacco products.
“I would encourage anyone with information about illegal tobacco sellers to report them to Trading Standards on 03454 04 05 06.”