Couple electronically tagged over counterfeit cigarettes

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TWO people must wear electronic tags for four months after they pleaded guilty to selling illegal tobacco.

Lynn Phillips, 57, and David Charters, 47, both of Conyers Crescent, Horden, pleaded guilty to selling and possessing counterfeit cigarettes and possessing rolling tobacco, which did not carry the required health warnings on the packaging.

Phillips also pleaded guilty to a fourth offence of selling rolling tobacco which did not carry the correct health warnings on the packaging, during the hearing at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court.

The court heard that after a complaint of a house on Conyers Crescent, Horden, being operated as a “tab house”, trading standards officers from Durham County Council carried out observations of the property during May.

Magistrates were told officers witnessed an unusually large number of people visiting the house, often for very short periods of time, and in many cases leaving with packets of cigarettes or tobacco.

Trading standards officers, with support from Durham Constabulary, executed a search warrant at the house and found 1,200 counterfeit cigarettes, 41 pouches of illegal rolling tobacco and money totalling £3,214.

Magistrates imposed a curfew on Phillips and Charters between the hours of 8pm and 7am, to be monitored by electronic tags for a period of 16 weeks.

Both were also ordered to each pay £500 costs and a £60 victim surcharge.