Couple sentenced for selling illegal cigarettes and tobacco round Cornwall

A man and woman have been sentenced for selling illegal tobacco products in and around pubs and shopping centres around Cornwall.

Timothy Davis, of Bederkesa Court, Bodmin, and Jennifer Brooks, of Mountbatten Road, Penwithick, St Austell, appeared at Bodmin Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday, December 8 where they admitted charges in relation to the supply of illegal tobacco products and the evasion of taxes and duties.

Davis, 59, and Brooks, 39, admitted four charges between them in a prosecution brought by Cornwall Council.

The court heard the pair had set up a joint enterprise, selling illegal tobacco over the summer of 2019.

They sold both imported and counterfeit products in and around pubs and shopping centres in Plymouth, Bodmin, Newquay and other locations in Cornwall.

Acknowledging that both defendants admitted the charges at the first opportunity, the magistrates gave both Davis and Brooks a six-week 7am to 7pm curfew.

The defendants were also ordered to pay a victim surcharge and court costs amounting to £2,286 each.

Rachel Wigglesworth, Cornwall Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “Almost 1,000 people die each year in Cornwall from smoking-related illness. The sale of cheap tobacco absolutely undermines all encouragement to quit. We have to encourage all possible action against those who sell illegal tobacco and cigarettes.” 

Councillor Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council’s Portfolio Holder for Environment and Public Protection, said: “Our message is clear – selling illegal tobacco is a crime which can carry fines, community orders or prison.

“In this case the sellers have lost their liberty over the Christmas period. More and more of these cases are based upon information provided by local residents, a clear indication that communities are not happy to have this type of criminal activity taking place near their homes and businesses.

“Whether you are a shopkeeper or an individual selling from home, the chances are you will be reported. Our crackdown will continue.” 

Anyone with information about the sale of illegal tobacco or alcohol can make a report in confidence by emailing report-it@cornwall.gov.uk or visit SWillegaltobacco.info.

Note to editors

Both defendants pleaded guilty to two charges of the following:

• Failure to pay the duty to HMRC on goods sold

• Supplying goods not compliant with Standardised packaging

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