Cheshire East Council trading standards officers seized cigarettes and tobacco worth more than £9,000 during a swoop against a fraudster, a court heard.
Chester Crown Court was told 30,679 cigarettes and 24.3kg of rolling tobacco were uncovered during a raid on in a property in Macclesfield on 7 April 2017, by Cheshire East Council’s trading standards investigations team.
Officers found cigarettes and tobacco at the premises – at Mar Mar Market in Dukes Court, Macclesfield, where he was the sole proprietor – with further products found in the shop owner’s vehicle.
Adam Maczka, 53, of Briarwood Avenue, Macclesfield, received a six month custodial sentence for offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994 and a three-month jail sentence for offences under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016, which have been suspended for two years.
Maczka will also have to carry out 150 hours’ unpaid work in the local community and work with the probationary service for a 20-day period.
In mitigation, the defence claimed Maczka was unaware of trade mark implications when purchasing the cigarettes and tobacco.
Councillor Janet Clowes, cabinet member for communities and health, said: “People who deal in illegal tobacco are more likely to encourage others, especially children and young adults, to smoke.
“All tobacco is harmful but the illegal black market in tobacco, and in particular the availability of cheap cigarettes, makes it harder for smokers to quit and remain smoke free.
“The council takes this very seriously and our trading standards officers are working hard to keep these illegal products off the streets and are cracking down on the businesses and individuals that flout the law. If you are doing anything illegal – we will make sure you are found and sent to court.”
The seizure included non-duty-paid tobacco and counterfeit tobacco, which cannot be legally sold in the UK.
Anyone with information about illegal tobacco can call the Tackling Illegal Tobacco hotline on 0300 999 0000 or report online at: www.keep-it-out.co.uk