A man from Havering, Essex Danny Alan Griffiths who used the pseudonym “Danny Lee’ appeared at Barkingside Magistrates Court on 14th June 2019, charged with nine (9) offences of selling and possessing counterfeit tobacco and cigarettes for sale contrary to section 92 of The Trademarks Act 1994. He pleaded guilty to all nine matters. He was sentenced to a 12 month Community Order with 15 days of a Rehabilitation Activity Requirement (concurrent) and a £120 fine.
The case was brought by TM Eye as a private criminal prosecution on behalf of its client Japanese Tobacco International (JTI).
Griffiths sold fake Mayfair cigarettes, Amber Leaf and Golden Virginia tobacco. He sold other brands but these were not subject to any enforcement action or prosecution. He advertised the fake goods on a Facebook Group, “Things for Sale in and around Romford.” He had posted under the pseudonym Danny Lee “Who needs fags or baccy inbox me.” TM Eye’s Online Investigations Team made contact asking about brands and prices. He replied “Richmond, Mayfair, Amber Leaf, Golden Virginia £5 fags, £7 Baccy, 40 sleeves’. Detectives from TM Eye’s Illicit Tobacco Team supported by their surveillance team arranged a meeting on 10th January 2019, with the male in Standen Avenue, Hornchurch, Essex. Griffiths attended and sold an undercover detective from TM Eye’s Dedicated Undercover unit five (5) pouches of Amber Leaf tobacco (50g) and three (3) packets of Mayfair cigarettes (20) for £50.00. The purchase was covertly recorded.
TM Eye carried out further covert test purchases of fake cigarettes and tobacco from Griffiths on the 15th January 2019, the 17th January 2019 and the 23rd April 2019 at the same location. On the last occasion detectives from the Illicit Tobacco Team working with officers from Havering Police Local Community Team stopped Griffith’s in his blue Audi car and seized a black holdall containing sixteen (16) pouches of Amber Leaf hand rolling tobacco, eight (8) packets of Mayfair cigarettes and twenty-six (26) pouches of Golden Virginia hand rolling tobacco. His correct name and address were obtained. TM Eye’s Illicit Tobacco Team then obtained a criminal summons and served it on Griffiths. The test purchase evidence resulted in the prosecution and conviction.
TM Eye Director David Mckelvey said,”I would like to thank the local policing team from Havering for their assistance in stopping and identifying Griffiths on 23rd April 2019. Griffiths was a prolific criminal selling fake cigarettes and tobacco across Essex.
These counterfeits often contain dangerous chemicals and products such as asbestos.
Griffiths now risks going to prison should he re offend”.