A west Cumbrian pensioner has pleaded guilty to possessing large quantities of illegal cigarettes and tobacco, following an investigation by Cumbria Trading Standards.
Barry Bray, of 26 Nook Street in Workington was given a 12-month Community Order, 100 hours of unpaid work and ordered to pay £5,135 in costs.
The 74-year-old appeared before Workington Magistrates Court this week charged with being in possession of over 22,000 illicit cigarettes and counterfeit hand-rolling tobacco.
The goods were ordered to be forfeited and will be destroyed.
The court case has prompted Cumbria County Council’s Trading Standards Servicer to pledge that they will continue to take action against those selling such items.
Councillor 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 0808 223 1133.”