Suspended prison sentence for counterfeit cigarette seller caught in Kidlington
Illegal tobacco and money laundering in Kidlington market, discovered by Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards service, has resulted in the offender receiving 24 months imprisonment suspended for two years.
Michael Addison pleaded guilty to twelve charges at an earlier hearing, where he admitted to possessing fake and smuggled cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco in the course of business and money laundering. Brands included Richmond and Lambert and Butler cigarettes and Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco.
Today, Monday 18 September, he returned to Oxford Crown Court for sentencing. He is also required to complete 300 hours of unpaid work and 30 rehabilitation activity requirement days.
In a basis of plea, he accepted ‘converting criminal property’ by funnelling a sum of more than £155,000 through two Lloyds bank accounts in his name.
The court heard that Addison was caught at Kidlington market in a joint operation led by Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team, the South East Regional Organised Crime Unit (SEROCU) and Thames Valley Police, in January 2022.
But rather than curtail his criminal activities, the Cheltenham resident, aged 63, was caught again in February 2023 after his vehicle was stopped by police in Kidlington.
Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, said: “This was an example of partnership working at its best. Thanks to the help given by SEROCU and Thames Valley Police, we have been able to catch an offender targeting Oxfordshire, who otherwise may never have stopped.”
Councillor Kate Gregory, Oxfordshire County Council’s Cabinet Member for Community Services and Safety, said: “While there is no safe level of smoking, there is also no way of knowing what is contained in unregulated and counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco products, which could put your health at increased risk.
“That is why our trading standards team will continue to pursue those responsible and bring them to justice.”
Confiscation proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act will continue at a future hearing.
Anyone with information about the illegal sale of any tobacco products should contact 0300 999 6 999 or report it anonymously through the website: stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk.
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