100-hour community service for Mansfield Woodhouse counterfeit tobacco seller

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A Mansfield Woodhouse resident was been sentenced to a 100-hour community punishment order for selling counterfeit tobacco and cigarettes, at Nottingham Crown Court on THursday.

The property of James Thomas (52), of St James Gardens, was raided by Nottinghamshire County Council’s Trading Standards, Nottinghamshire Police and HM Customs last October after information was received that he was selling counterfeit tobacco around local pubs in the area.

Of the goods seized, 7.3kg of rolling tobacco and 384 packets of cigarettes were found to be counterfeit. Some of the products seized were counterfeit copies of genuine brands, including Golden Virginia tobacco and Regal cigarettes.

The Council’s Trading Standards has launched a Proceeds of Crime investigation with a view to recovering any profits Thomas has made from his illegal activity.

Coun Mick Murphy, Chairman of Nottinghamshire County Council’s Community Safety Committee, said: “This sentence sends out a clear message that the sale of counterfeit tobacco will not be tolerated – our Trading Standards team will track down sellers and will make every effort to ensure they are prosecuted.

“Unfortunately, this is a growing problem and people should avoid buying tobacco goods from anywhere other than reputable outlets. There is a good chance they will be of inferior quality and could contain higher levels of harmful substances.

“In addition, counterfeit tobacco reduces trade for legitimate sellers and the general public as a whole loses out through reduced tax revenue for essential services such healthcare and the care for the elderly.”

To report someone who you believe is selling counterfeit goods call the Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 08454 04 05 06.