Taxi Driver Taken to Court Over Counterfeit Cigarettes and Tobacco

Highland Council Trading Standards take local licensed taxi driver to court over counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco seizure.

Wick Sheriff Court has granted a court order against local taxi driver and business partner in Caithness Cabs, Mr Thomas Russell.

Acting on intelligence received officers from Highland Council Trading Standards executed a warrant on Russell in May 2019

The fake tobacco products found by the use of a tobacco detection dog and its handler in Mr Russell’s property included a significant number of ‘Richmond Blue’ cigarettes, pouches of ‘Golden Virginia’ tobacco (50g); and pouches of Amber Leaf tobacco (50g).

The Trade Marks Act 1994 makes it an offence to be involved in the unauthorised use of registered trademarks regarding the distribution of goods.

Counterfeit cigarettes often contain very high levels of harmful ingredients and have no duty paid on them.

The Order granted by Wick Sheriff Court places restrictions on Russell’s future conduct regarding the possession, sale or offering for sale of counterfeit products and any future breach of this kind can lead to an unlimited fine or imprisonment. 

A further requirement placed on Russell mean that he must inform the Highland Council of any change of business name or personal name or address for the next 5 years.

David MacKenzie, Highland Council’s Trading Standards Manager, said:

“I am pleased with the decision of the court to grant an Order in this case and we will continue to monitor the activities of Russell to ensure his compliance with its terms.”

Mr MacKenzie adds:

“Counterfeit tobacco products may ultimately cause serious harm to a consumers health or cause long term health issues, (especially to young persons and those with underlying health issues) and our officers have a duty to remove such harmful products from circulation and disrupt supply to members of the public.

“We would urge members of the public to contact our Service regarding the advertising, sale or supply of such counterfeit products.”

If anyone has any information about the sale of counterfeit goods, they can let Trading Standards know anonymously online at the Highland Council website here.