Grove man fined after fake cigarettes and smuggled tobacco seized from home
Robert Campbell, 59, of Tubbs Close, Grove was ordered to pay nearly £3000 in fines and costs when he appeared at Oxford Magistrates’ Court on Friday after action taken by Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team.
The court heard that on the 28 June 2021, officers from Thames Valley Police executed a warrant to enter and search the Tubbs Close address on an unrelated matter. During the search, 110 packs of cigarettes and 94 pouches of hand-rolling tobacco were found spread around the property.
Brands included Marlboro, Richmond and Rothmans cigarettes & Cutters Choice, Golden Virginia and Amber Leaf hand-rolling tobacco. After being cautioned, Campbell said “I buy cigarettes from lorry drivers and sell them. I then save that money up to buy more cigarettes to sell”.
The case was subsequently passed to Oxfordshire County Council’s trading standards team to investigate with representative samples of the cigarettes later confirmed as being counterfeit and the hand-rolling tobacco being a smuggled product that was not labelled with the required health warnings.
Campbell pleaded guilty to three offences contrary to the Trade Marks Act 1994 for possessing counterfeit cigarettes in the course of business with a view to selling them and a further offence contrary to the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 for possessing for supply tobacco products without the required health warnings. Two additional offences were withdrawn by the prosecution. He must pay a total of £2,841 within 28 days. The tobacco products were ordered to be forfeited and destroyed.
Councillor Jenny Hannaby, Cabinet Member for Community Services & Safety, said: “Whilst 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.”
Jody Kerman, Oxfordshire County Council’s Head of Trading Standards, said: “People can help us to stamp out illegal tobacco and create a healthier and safer Oxfordshire by being vigilant and reporting any suspicious activity through the Illegal Tobacco Hotline. We know it can be hard to stop using tobacco products but help is available. People are three times more likely to successfully quit by using a stop smoking service like Smokefree Oxfordshire. The service is free to everyone living in the county.”
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
As part of Operation CeCe, in just over a year, Oxfordshire County Council has seized nearly 750,000 illegal cigarettes and nearly 60,000 grams of illegal hand-rolling and shisha tobacco.
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