A MAN who sold illegal cigarettes from his home has been ordered to pay £550.

Eugene Carney, 61, of South Cross Street, Leadgate, near Consett, was caught selling counterfeit cigarettes without the required health warnings.

Among the items bought from Carney during an investigation by Durham County Council Trading Standards team were two sleeves of Richmond King Size cigarettes for £40 each. Both lacked the health warnings required and one sleeve of cigarettes was found to be counterfeit.

A sleeve of counterfeit Mayfair King Size cigarettes was also purchased for £40, along with two packs of Pride King Size Filter cigarettes, priced at £4 each. Nicknamed ‘Cheap Whites,’ this type of cigarette is not manufactured in the UK and the cartons did not display the required health warnings.

When a warrant was executed at the defendant’s home a small number of cigarettes and some tobacco were seized.

Carney pleaded guilty to two charges of supplying tobacco products without health warnings and three charges of selling tobacco products in breach of a registered trademark.

In mitigation, the court heard Carney had mostly been selling to his friends and family and was not aware the cigarettes were counterfeit.

He was was fined £120 and ordered to pay costs of £400 and a £30 victim surcharge.

Owen Cleugh, consumer protection manager at Durham County Council, said: “This prosecution demonstrates our commitment to cracking down on illegal tobacco, irrespective of the size of the operation.

“Illegal tobacco has a serious impact on health, makes it easier for children to smoke and undermines the work of the stop smoking service.

“Anyone who believes they have information on the sale of illegal tobacco should contact the confidential reporting line on 0300 999 0000 or via http://keep-it-out.co.uk/.”