Five defendants deny taking part in £1m-plus counterfeit cigarettes scam

The trial is due to take place at Durham Crown Court.
The trial is due to take place at Durham Crown Court.

Five people have denied selling counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco valued at more than £1m.

Ian, Julie, and David Brace were arrested with Julie and Gemma Wilkinson following an investigation by trading standards officers into the sale of counterfeit cigarettes in East Durham.

The five deny any wrongdoing on the basis they didn't know the cigarettes were counterfeit, Durham Crown Court heard.

Ian Brace, 52, Julie Brace, 52, and David Brace, 41, all of Everton Drive, Seaham, all denied conspiracy to supply counterfeit goods between 2013 and 2016.

Julie Wilkinson, 49, and Gemma Wilkinson, 30, both of Calvert Terrace, Murton, both denied the same charge.

The court heard their trial is expected to last for four days.

Judge Christopher Prince set a trial date of March 19 next year.

All five defendants were released on unconditional bail.