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Port Talbot woman loses £17,000 for selling illegal tobacco and cigarettes in Aberafan Shopping Centre

By South Wales Evening Post  |  Posted: December 13, 2012

Trading Standards manager Lucas Williams with some of the counterfeit tobacco and cigarettes seized from a woman in Port Talbot

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A WOMAN caught selling fake tobacco brands and smuggled cigarettes out of a shopping trolley has seen her profits go up in smoke.

She is now £17,000 out of pocket after she was spotted going about her illegal trade in and around Aberafan Shopping Centre.

The woman, who is not being named, was dealt with by way of a caution for the initial offences. But she was hit hard in the pocket under the proceeds of crime legislation.

Neath Port Talbot Council principal trading standards officer Steve Adie said the woman had been selling counterfeit-branded pouches of tobacco.

She had also sold genuine brands of cigarettes that had been “improperly imported”, both for considerably lower than the genuine retail price.

She was caught after an investigation involving trading standards and the shopping centre’s security team.

“Officers found more than 300 packets of tobacco and cigarettes in her trolley,” said Mr Adie.

“These were seized, and when we searched her home we found a further 23,000 cigarettes.

“That sounds like a lot but they were in cartons of 200 so they did not take up a lot of space.

“They were also seized, as was around £24,000 in cash which was found at the house.”

The woman, who is from Port Talbot, is not believed to have been involved with cigarette smuggling, but obtained them from a supplier.

Mr Adie said she was able to prove that £7,000 of the money came from a legitimate source of income.

However, she could not offer any such proof for the remainder and so an application under the Proceeds of Crime Act was made at Neath Magistrates’ Court.

That led to the woman being ordered to forfeit £17,000.

Although the money has been surrendered to the Home Office, Mr Adie said around £8,000 would be returned to Neath Port Talbot Council to help with its ongoing trading standards operations.

“Our team is working hard to root out anyone selling counterfeit tobacco.

“It costs the UK economy many millions of pounds a year and we will do everything we can to keep illegal tobacco off the county’s streets,” he added.

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  • cresswell1  |  January 05 2013, 9:12AM

    i feel sorry for her, they want to try and catch real criminals, just because she was selling fags at a lower price.

  • Neathboy234  |  December 13 2012, 4:06PM

    I wouldn't worry too much about smoking. In 10 years time it will be all but finished.

  • Philosoraptor  |  December 13 2012, 3:27PM

    She had also sold genuine brands of cigarettes that had been "improperly imported", both for considerably lower than the genuine retail price. -------------------------------- So, she was charging less than 50p per packet? Because that is the manufacturers recommended retail price, the rest goes to the other crooks... the Government.

    |   9
  • Dan01  |  December 13 2012, 1:44PM

    koujar, because she has not been charged with anything I suppose. Not prosecuting will save us all a bit of money!

  • maxmin  |  December 13 2012, 11:12AM

    Serious offenders should suffer total confiscation, everything they own down to their last pair of socks and everything their immediate family own should be confiscated. All benefits stopped but they will be allowed to perform work in exchange for food!

    |   -9
  • GorsseinonJoe  |  December 13 2012, 10:39AM

    The only way to hurt criminals is to strip their assets, community sentences and prison doesn't work. They go into crime to get money, so take it or their property off them. People who sometimes struggle with debt through losing their jobs have bailiffs knocking their door, it should be the first course of action for criminals.

    |   18
  • koujar  |  December 13 2012, 10:21AM

    why is she not being named?????

    |   16