News item

Fake cigarettes conviction by trading standards

A petrol station owner has been prosecuted for supplying counterfeit cigarettes, following an investigation by Caerphilly County Borough Council’s Trading Standards officers.

Manickavasgar Kirupananthan, the owner of the Total Bargoed Service Station at Gwerthnor Place in Bargoed, was prosecuted for supplying counterfeit Benson and Hedges Gold cigarettes.

The investigation came to light after a consumer bought a pack and noticed that not only did the cigarettes not taste as they should, one of them injured his lip because of the high burning temperature.

Trading Standards Officers visited the premises immediately and found 120 packs of the cigarettes either on display or in storage.
Furthermore the packs were displayed with a large offer sticker saying they were on sale at £4.75 for a pack of twenty, considerably lower that the retail value.
 
Kirupananthan has always maintained that all cigarettes had been bought from a legitimate cash and carry. Investigations by Trading Standards showed that the business had not purchased Benson and Hedges Gold 20's from its usual supplier since July 2010 – the offences were discovered in September 2010.
 
During the case, Mr Kirupananthan’s barrister Joe Al-Khayat told the court that the defendant owned a total of 10 Petrol Service Stations in the London Area, South West of England and the one in Bargoed.
Kirupananthan plead guilty at Abergavenny Magistrates Court on 12th January 2012 to five offences under the Trade Marks Act 1994.
He was fined a total of £6,250 and ordered to pay costs to the local authority of £787.
 
Cllr Rob Gough, Cabinet Member for Public Protection said, “Offences such as this have a real impact not only upon legitimate retailers but also most importantly upon unsuspecting consumers. The fact that these cigarettes were produced in an uncontrolled environment could have posed a serious injury and safety risk. I am therefore pleased that the court has emphasised the seriousness of the offences in the fine it imposed”.