Illegal tobacco, alcohol and DVDs business turned over £176K before being busted

8 November 2018 Posted by

An illegal tobacco, alcohol and DVD seller turned over £176,000 in two years before being busted.

A man from Chacewater has been found guilty of selling illegal tobacco, counterfeit DVDs and alcohol from his home.

Neal Andrew Phillips, 52, of Boscawen Road, Chacewater, pleaded guilty to a number of charges at Truro Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday (October 31).

Following tip offs from members of the public, Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards officers, with the assistance of Devon and Cornwall Police, raided his home.

They seized a large quantity of tobacco products, counterfeit DVDs, illegal alcohol and cash, along with records indicating that Phillips’ illegal business had turned over as much as £176,000 in a two-year period.

Magistrates severely reprimanded Phillips, stating that only his early guilty plea and his medical condition had saved him from an immediate custodial sentence to reflect the seriousness of his offending.

Phillips was ordered to undertake an eight-month community order, to serve an eight-month curfew between 8pm and 8am seven days a week and to wear a tag. He was also ordered to pay £4,000 towards the prosecution costs.

Phillips will also face proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act in respect of cash seized from the property.

All of the illegal items seized during the Trading Standards operation were forfeited for destruction.

The 12 charges related to nearly 200 packets of Cutters Choice and 124 packets of Golden Virginia rolling tobacco, 241 packets of Golden Classic, 165 packets of President and six packets of Embassy cigarettes without required health warnings and/or standardised packaging, which wee found on January 15

The alcohol and DVDs were subject of a court forfeiture order.

Steve Brown, Cornwall Council’s interim service director for wellbeing and public health said: The work by Trading Standards to get cheap cigarettes and tobacco off the streets directly supports our efforts to reduce smoking levels in Cornwall.

“We know that price is an important motivator when a smoker decides to quit, so the sale of cheap tobacco undermines this. As smoking is the number one cause of preventable ill health, anything that can be done to reduce smoking levels has to be a good thing for the residents of Cornwall.

Councillor Sue James, Cabinet member for neighbourhoods and public protection, said: “I am proud of the work that our Trading Standards officers undertake in combatting sales of illegal tobacco. This criminal activity affects the health of local communities, undermines local businesses and starves our schools and health services of unpaid taxes.

“In this particular case, officers received good information from members of the public and we would encourage anyone with information about illegal tobacco sales in their area to report it via CrimeStoppers on 0800 555 111 or by email to report-it@cornwall.gov.uk

Share
About the Author

Research & Information Officer, Amethyst, Community Safety Team

Back to top

Safer Cornwall are a working partnership involving: