Fake cigarettes cost street seller a packet

A local man found selling cartons of cigarettes in the street has been fined a total of £720 at Aberdeen Sheriff Court.

Stuart Clark from the Sheddocksley area of the city was found in possession of cigarettes by officers from Aberdeen City Council Trading Standards Service and Police Scotland in October 2014 close to shops on Summerhill Drive. The cigarettes were sent to the manufacturer who confirmed they were counterfeit.

The man pleaded guilty to a Trade Marks Act 1994 offence of possession of the counterfeit cigarettes with a view to their distribution for which he was fined £450. He also admitted that he distributed tobacco when he was not registered with the Scottish Government allowing him to do so, an offence under the Tobacco and Primary Medical Services (Scotland) Act 2010, which resulted in a fine of £270.

Graeme Paton, manager of Trading Standards in Aberdeen, said: "Part of the reason behind the introduction of the registration requirement was to control the point of supply of tobacco and criminalise sales on street corners where the vast majority of the tobacco involved is either smuggled or counterfeit, as was demonstrated in this case.

"There are several concerns about the sale of illegal tobacco. Primarily, there is the cost to public health. The price of tobacco is one of the most important factors affecting consumption. Increasing the level of taxation on cigarettes can reduce consumption because people, including under 18 year olds, respond to the price increase by giving up, cutting down or never starting. However, this policy is undermined by illegal tobacco which is sold at reduced rates on the black market.

"The sale of counterfeit goods, including tobacco, also undermines legitimate business which in turn costs jobs. There is also the loss in revenue to the UK Government from the supply of illegal tobacco which according to the HMRC is estimated to be around £2billion each year."

Anyone with information about illegal tobacco sellers can contact Trading Standards on their confidential Tobacco Action Line on 01224 522433 or email tradingstandards@aberdeencity.gov.uk