County Durham man left counting the cost of illegal cigarettes

A man has been ordered to pay out more than £500 after he was caught in possession of illegal tobacco.

Durham County Council Trading Standards officers and Durham Constabulary executed a warrant at a home in Newton Aycliffe, in March this year.

Once inside, they seized 200 illegal Pride cigarettes and 1.85kg of illicit Turner hand rolling tobacco.

A 53-year old man was summoned to appear before magistrates in Newton Aycliffe, where he pleaded guilty to possessing tobacco products for supply without the required health warnings and possessing tobacco products for supply without standardised packaging.

In mitigation, the court heard that he had only supplied tobacco products to his family, and did not profit from his activity.

He was sentenced to an 18-month conditional discharge and was ordered to pay costs of £545.38 and a £20 victim surcharge.

Owen Cleugh, consumer protection manager at Durham County Council, said: “This prosecution demonstrates our commitment to tackling illegal tobacco, and should serve as a warning to those also engaged in this kind of criminal activity.

“The illegal tobacco trade harms local communities on many levels. It not only encourages smokers to keep smoking, but it can make it easier for children to access tobacco products. It is also linked to other types of criminality.