Selling cheap cigarettes on a social media site has led to a £600 fine for an Elgin man.
The man was caught in a sting by Moray Council’s Trading Standards officers posing as customers. The sale of 400 cigarettes showed officers he was in business selling for profit, so he was issued the fixed penalty and the contraband was confiscated.
The seller was not registered as a tobacco seller as required by law and was selling cigarette packs without the required health warnings on them. He was also breaking the ban on tobacco advertising.
Peter Adamson, Moray Council’s Trading Standards Manager, said: “Trading Standards staff monitor social media sites and have been working with group administrators to block these sorts of sales,” he said.
“Sales of cut-price illicit tobacco and cigarettes undermine efforts to reduce the huge harm caused by smoking. "Action to prevent illegal sales is part of wider efforts by the Council, NHS and other partners to reduce smoking rates."
Over a three-month period the man was advertising and selling the Polish brand cigarettes on Facebook at half price, but he was unaware he was being monitored by Trading Standards officers.
Moray Council urged people not to be tempted to buy cheap cigarettes or tobacco.
“It is either smuggled, counterfeit or both with distribution almost always linked to organised crime,” said Peter.
Chair of Moray Council’s Planning and Regulatory Services Committee, Cllr Chris Tuke, praised the work of the Trading Standards team.
“Criminals will always find ways of selling contraband to an unsuspecting public, so I’m pleased to see our officers acting swiftly to shut these down.
“Peter and his team do a great job protecting the public from these dodgy dealers.”
Moray Council area stretches from Tomintoul in the south to the shores of the Moray Firth, from Keith in the east to Forres in the west. The council and its 4,500 employees respond to the needs of 92,500 residents in this beautiful part of Scotland, which nestles between Aberdeenshire and the Highlands.
Famous for its colony of dolphins, fabulous beaches and more malt whisky distilleries than any where else in Scotland, Moray is a thriving area and a great place to live.
Headquartered in Elgin, the administrative capital of Moray.