Illegal tobacco sales stopped in Weston
By Prue_Reid | Wednesday, October 24, 2012, 10:42
An illegal tobacco sale business in Weston has been shut down following a joint operation by trading standards and the police.
Rosemarie Ann Burton, of Swan Close, Mead Vale, Weston-super-Mare, entered five guilty pleas at North Somerset Magistrates Court on Thursday, October 18, following a raid on her home.
She was given a curfew from 7pm to 7am and ordered to pay £2000 towards legal costs.
Mrs Burton and her husband have also given written undertakings to North Somerset Council trading standards service, not to further breach certain legislation surrounding the sale and supply of tobacco products or they may face civil proceedings in addition to any criminal proceeding if they commit these offences again.
Mrs Burton pleaded guilty to the following offences:
- Selling Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco that did not have the correct safety labelling - warnings not being in English;
- Selling Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco that did not have the correct safety labelling - no picture warnings;
- Possession for supply of Cutters Choice hand rolling tobacco that did not have the correct safety labelling - warnings not being in English;
- Possession for supply of Cutters Choice hand rolling tobacco that did not have the correct safety labelling - no picture warnings; and
- Failing to display the following notice 'It is illegal to sell tobacco products to anyone under the age of 18'.
On March 27 2012, trading standards officers and police raided the property and seized a quantity of tobacco products together with mobile phones, a starlight navigation unit and computer equipment.
After forensic examination, evidence indicated that Mrs Burton had been selling tobacco products that had been purchased abroad and from a lorry driver friend, to numerous people in Weston-super-Mare.
Two large scale tobacco purchases totalling £20,387.50 were seized and trading standards officers estimated the actual retail value to be in excess of £41,000.
North Somerset Council executive member with responsibility for trading standards Peter Bryant said the prosecution sent a tough message to those taking part in the illegal sale of tobacco products.
He said: "As one of the leading authorities in the South West, on work undertaken in relation to illicit and counterfeit tobacco, I am extremely proud of the hard work that has gone into this investigation.
"If you are taking part in this crime - we will track you down."
NHS North Somerset praised trading standards for their continued efforts in tracking down unregulated cigarettes.
The NHS also continue to tackle the issue of cheap and illicit tobacco trade as part of the North Somerset Tobacco Control Strategy.
NHS North Somerset healthy lifestyles programme manager Fiona Miles said: "People who sell cheap smokes often target underage children to make an easy profit.
"This makes it too easy for our children to smoke and become addicted - any measure that stops young people from starting smoking is to be applauded."
If you have any information on individuals selling illicit or counterfeit tobacco contact North Somerset Council's trading standards on 0845 404 0506 or firstname.lastname@example.org.