A CWMBRAN man was left more than £600 out of pocket after being caught selling counterfeit tobacco on Facebook.

Spencer Williams, of Rhymney Court, Thornhill, Cwmbran, pleaded guilty to the offence in Newport Magistrates Court last week.

He was fined £160, ordered to pay costs of £408.80 and a £34 victim surcharge.

Mr Williams’ illegal activity was discovered on Facebook by officers during spot checks of social media selling platforms.

These checks are routinely performed, in addition to visits to premises to ensure businesses are complying with laws intended to protect consumers.

A test purchase undertaken by the team revealed that the tobacco was not in the standardised packaging required by UK law.


They were subject to laboratory testing, which confirmed they were counterfeit and could not legally be sold.

Officers applied for a warrant from the Magistrates’ Court to search Mr Williams’ property in Cwmbran.

During their search they found a large amount of illegal tobacco ready for sale.

Cllr Mandy Owen, Torfaen Council's executive member for the environment, said: “The sentence is a clear indication of how seriously these offences are viewed by the court.

"The sale of counterfeit goods is damaging to the health and wealth of our communities.

"Ingredients used in counterfeit tobacco can be highly dangerous to smokers. Genuine retailers are also affected from unfair trading competition, the impact of which could be heightened due to the pandemic.

“The council is committed to supporting the local economy, and will work to ensure businesses can operate on a level playing field.

"It is a concern when people such as Mr Williams sell illegal goods, and we will continue to stamp out these practices.

“We would encourage anyone struggling to afford tobacco to consider giving up with the help of smoking cessation services, rather than turn to the illicit market.”

“Counterfeit tobacco can result in higher levels of tar, carbon monoxide and other harmful substances being inhaled, compared with genuine tobacco.”

Anybody with information on individuals selling counterfeit goods can contact Torfaen Trading Standards team on 01633 647623 or e-mail trading.standards@torfaen.gov.uk 

For help quitting smoking, contact Stop Smoking Wales on freephone 0800 085 2219 or visit the website.