THE LEADER of Thurrock Council has praised the work of his Trading Standards team after a trader in Grays Shopping Centre was fined for selling illegal fags.
Sarah Cambridge, trading as Chequers Fruit and Veg at 18b North Mall, Grays Shopping Centre, pleaded guilty to six offences of selling counterfeit cigarettes, possessing with the intent to supply counterfeit cigarettes and failure to display a notice with regards to underage sales.
Cambridge appeared at Basildon Magistrates Court on 18 September 2017 and was sentenced to 100 hours of unpaid work and pay costs of £1,000.
This investigation followed significant intelligence received by Thurrock Council Trading Standards about the illegal activity taking place.
The team worked in conjunction with Essex Police and Public Health who provided funding for extra resources for the team to undertake this investigation.
Cllr Rob Gledhill, Leader of the Council who is responsible for Trading Standards, said: “Counterfeit tobacco products are harmful and illegal – it is right that our Trading Standards team investigate and take action against them. Illicit tobacco can do serious harm to health and has been known to contain insects and asbestos along with other unpleasant ingredients like human faeces.
“Whilst those buying counterfeit cigarettes might think they have saved a bit of money – I have to ask at what cost? The money stays within criminal gangs across the globe, the purchaser is risking their health and the money lost in tax revenue is a cost to the whole nation.”
“Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks they can make money off the back of resident’s safety – we will pursue you with the full force of the law and bring you to justice.”
Members of the public who would like to report sales of illegal tobacco should call Citizens Advice Consumer Service, who will record the information and pass it on to Trading Standards. The number is 03454 04 05 06.