AN UNLICENSED street trader has been ordered to pay back the profits he made from selling counterfeit cigarettes in Accrington town centre.
Darren Clayton, 37, of pleaded guilty to three charges of making unauthorised use of registered trademarks contrary to the Trademarks Act 1994 when he appeared before Hyndburn magistrates.
The court heard that in April and May last year, Clayton, who comes from Doncaster, was spotted by police selling cigarettes and tobacco to members of the public on three separate occasions.
Nick McNamara, legal process officer for Lancashire Trading Standards, said: “Police officers came across the defendant displaying counterfeit packs of cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco for sale on a white blanket in Broadway, Accrington.”
When asked what he was doing, Clayton replied: “I’m selling them. I bought them in Belgium.”
Police discovered that Clayton did not have a street trader’s licence and he was arrested.
In total, five packs of 20 Lambert and Butler king-size cigarettes and nine 50g pouches of Golden Virginia hand-rolling tobacco were seized by police along with £300.95 in cash.
Mr McNamara said that, when interviewed, Clayton refused to reveal where the cigarettes were from and failed to explain why he had so much cash on him.
Within two weeks of his initial arrest, Clayton was spotted again selling goods outside the JJB sports shop on Broadway.
He was told to move on but less than one hour later he was seen again with 28 pouches of tobacco.
Manufacturer Imperial Tobacco has confirmed that the items were counterfeit.
Mr McNamara added: “Clearly counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco present a cost to genuine manufacturers and legitimate retailers in terms of lost sales.
“But there is also a cost to customers who fail to realise that, although genuine tobacco products are produced to strict compositional standards, the levels of harmful substances in their illegal counterparts is totally uncontrollable.”
Clayton was given a six-month community order with a supervision requirement. He must also attend a course on alcohol abuse and re-offending. He was ordered to pay £500.95 towards court costs, which included paying back his £300.95 profit.