West Berkshire Council

Two men sentenced to illegal tobacco offences

Paul Parfitt, 51 years old, of Southcote Lane, Reading, Berkshire, and Luke Thorp, 25, no fixed abode, were each sentenced to a fine of £750 on 27th April 2018 at Reading Magistrates' Court after each pleading guilty to a single offence under the Tobacco Products Duty Act 1979.

STOCK IMAGE: Scales of justice

The convictions resulted from a seizure of over 400 pouches of hand rolling tobacco and 800 counterfeit cigarettes. Thames Valley Police were called to a car park in Bracknell on the 8th September 2017 following a report by a member of the public of two men exchanging bin bags of tobacco from vehicles.

The police attended and subsequently called the Public Protection Partnership (PPP) Trading Standards Service who attended and seized packets of Golden Virginia, Amber Leaf and Cutters Choice tobacco as well as Mayfair cigarettes. None of the tobacco carried any fiscal marking to confirm duty had been paid on the tobacco and none of the products were compliant with health warnings, some having Spanish wording and packaging and intended for the Spanish/Gibraltarian market. 

The duty that should have been paid on the hand rolling tobacco amounted to £4,436.63 and the duty owed on the cigarettes amounted £224.79. In addition to the fines, each defendant was ordered to pay £75 victims' surcharge and £250 towards prosecution costs. The tobacco and cigarettes were also confiscated by the Court.

Steve Loudoun, Chairman of the Public Protection Partnership Management Board said: 'This was an expensive lesson to learn. Not only is each facing a penalty with costs and surcharge of £1,075 they have also lost a substantial amount of tobacco with a retail value in excess of £5,000 and picked up a criminal record in the process. The legislation is there for a good reason and where it is breached we will investigate.'   

Any Bracknell, West Berkshire or Wokingham resident that has concerns about activity of this nature or any other trading standards or public protection matter should contact the service on 01635519930 or e-mail tsadvice@westberks.gov.uk.



The Public Protection Partnership is a shared service of Bracknell Forest Council, West Berkshire Council and Wokingham Borough Council and delivers environmental health, licensing and trading standards functions.