Warning issued after 50,000 cigarettes and 50kg of tobacco seized
An authority has seized 50,000 illegal cigarettes and 50kg of tobacco in the last two years and have warned people against dealing in counterfeit products.
Powys County Council's Operation Date has led to thousands of of cigarettes being seized, with the latest case leading to Matthew Rawsthorne of Newtown receiving a 12 month community order, and 200 hours of unpaid work for having almost £10,000 of illegal tobacco.
He had been selling tobacco through Facebook, before admitting a string of offences at Llandrindod Wells Magistrates Court on Wednesday.
Now the authority has issued another warning for people thinking of dealing in counterfeit goods.
Clive Jones, the council’s professional lead for trading standards, community safety and emergency planning added: “Over the past two years we have seized nearly 50,000 illegal cigarettes and 50kg of illegal tobacco as part of our overarching operation on illicit products, named Operation Date.
“The supply of illegal tobacco bypasses government tobacco control measures, such as not selling tobacco to children and availability is increasing.
"This makes it more likely that youngsters will start smoking and we find that counterfeit products often contain high levels of heavy metals such as cadmium.
“Our surveillance on illegal activity involving counterfeit products of any variety is increasing and we ask users of auction sites or any person offered suspected counterfeit goods to be vigilant and to warn us of any suspicious sellers through our contact points.
“This action would not have been possible without the support of Dyfed Powys Police and we wish to thank officers from the road policing team and intelligence units.”
Councillor James Evans, cabinet member for trading standards added: "Combatting the supply of counterfeit and illegal tobacco is one of the priorities of our Trading Standards Service.
"We are looking to increase the understanding of the impact it has amongst smokers and local communities when shadow activities occur with illicit products.
“This should also serve as a warning to those involved in the supply and sale of illegal tobacco that we will take the appropriate action with partners that is necessary to combat this.”