Illegal tobacco seller convicted after warrant is issued by magistrates

Police were forced to arrest an illegal tobacco seller and take him to court after he failed to appear before magistrates.

Stephen Robert Seymour, 34, of The Glebe, Camborne, faced four charges brought by Cornwall Council’s Trading Standards in relation to the sale of illegal tobacco but failed to appear at Truro Magistrates Court in June and failed to provide any excuse for his non-attendance.

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As a result, the Court issued a warrant for his arrest and on Thursday morning officers from Devon and Cornwall Police caught up with him and took him into custody at Bodmin Magistrates Court.

Magistrates heard that Trading Standards had received information in the summer of 2018 alleging that Seymour was selling smuggled packets of tobacco from his home and from the shop where he worked.

A search of his workplace locker and of his home revealed a small quantity of non-UK tobacco and evidence of sales from June until September.

Seymour pleaded guilty to the four offences and was fined £200 and ordered to pay a £200 contribution towards the prosecution costs and a victim surcharge of £30.

Cllr Rob Nolan, Cornwall Council’s portfolio holder for environment and public protection said:  “I am very proud of the work that our Trading Standards officers undertake in combatting sales of illegal tobacco. Illegal tobacco trading affects local businesses, and the unpaid tax on these goods means less funds available for our schools and health service.

“In this case, officers were in receipt of good quality information from members of the public; We would encourage anyone with information about illegal tobacco sales in their area to report it via the report-it@cornwall.gov.uk email address.”

Steve Brown,Interim Deputy Director of Public Health for CIOS, said:  “Combatting sales of Illegal tobacco feeds directly into our wider Tobacco Control activities. We know that price is an important motivator when a smoker decides to quit, so sales of cheap, illegal tobacco directly undermines quit attempts.

“As smoking is the number one cause of preventable ill health, this in turn has a heavy impact upon the health and wellbeing of the residents of Cornwall.”