Posted: Tue 31st May 2016

Merthyr Tydfil Trading Standards Cracking Down On The Illicit Cigarette Trade /
This article is old - Published: Tuesday, May 31st, 2016

On 25th May 2016 Merthyr Tydfil Trading Standards Officers executed a series of raids across the County Borough where over 6,000 illegal cigarettes were seized from business premises. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

All cigarettes seized had foreign labelling and will now be examined to determine whether they are also counterfeit. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The sale of cheap, imported and illegal cigarettes undermines legitimate business in the town who abide by the legislative controls over tobacco. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Of particular concern to Trading Standards is the link between cheap cigarettes and the ease of access to the products by children. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

On 31st May 2016 Christine Williams, aged 51, of Williams Terrace, Treharris was convicted of supplying illegal cigarettes from her home to a 13 year old boy and an undercover Council officer. Following these sales Trading Standards raided the property where cigarettes and tobacco were seized. The products were found to be counterfeit and also failed safety tests on ignition propensity, that being ‘speed bumps’ ingrained in the cigarette designed that if a smoker fell asleep the lit cigarette would stop burning and go out. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

The court in sentencing recognised the offences as serious matters, particularly selling to underage children. The court was advised that due to disability Williams would be unable to undertake community work, however in recognising the severity of the offending the court issued a 20 week curfew where Williams would have to be at her property between 6pm and 6am each day. She was also ordered to pay prosecution costs of £2088. ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

Paul Lewis, Trading Standards and Licensing Manager, said: “There is a misconception that the sellers of cheap cigarettes and tobacco are seen as Robin Hood figures in the community who supply products without government taxes applied. The facts are that organised crime lies behind the production and supply of these products and these illegal sales undermine the work and legislation introduced to reduce smoking levels, particularly concerning children. Our message is clear don’t support it – report it.” ‌​‌​‌​​​‍‌​‌​​‌‌‌‍‌​‌‌​​‌​‍‌​‌‌‌​‌‌‍‌​‌‌‌‌​​

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