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Illegal immigrant jailed as £100k of tobacco seized

Trading standards officer Rhys Harries with the seized haul.

Trading standards officer Rhys Harries with the seized haul.

AN illegal immigrant living in Swansea has been sentenced to 15 months in prison after being caught with more than £100,000 worth of counterfeit tobacco.

Ming Chen, of Richardson Street in Sandfields, pleaded guilty to the illegal sale, manufacture and distribution of counterfeit tobacco.

The 170 kg counterfeit tobacco is thought to have a combined street value well in excess of £100,000.

The investigation by Swansea Council’s trading standards department led to the seizure of the tobacco along with all the packing equipment including plastic pouches and holographic stickers.

Officers from the council’s trading standards made the discovery at Chen’s flat in March.

Chen pleaded guilty to one count of fraud and seven further counts of possessing counterfeit tobacco and pouches.

Chen was also ordered to pay £120 victim surcharge.

Cabinet member for wellbeing and healthy city Mark Child said: “This is a significant find for our trading standards team and one which has resulted in a large quantity of counterfeit tobacco being removed from the streets of Swansea.

“This type of activity has links to serious organised crime and we are doing what we can in partnership with police to ensure that it is stopped in Swansea.

“I am pleased that trading standards have been successful and we will continue to take decisive steps to remove illegal tobacco from the streets.”

Members of the public with concerns about the sale of illegal tobacco in their community are encouraged to report the matter to the trading standards service on 01792 635600.

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