Butcher took cut from tobacco
A BUTCHER blamed the high street decline for his decision to sell illegal cigarettes from his shop.
John Hogg, 63, offered the explanation to city magistrates who ordered him to do 120 hours’ unpaid work.
They were told a Nottingham City Council trading standards team raided the Woodside Road premises and found tobacco products which had been hidden.
Hogg, who had a similar previous conviction, told the court he had run the business for 40 years. When asked if trade was difficult, he replied: “Very, very.”
He went on: “It seems everybody’s best days have gone. That is all I have got to say.
“No small retail outlet is having it good at the moment.
“I know I should not have done it. I know that.
“I didn’t sell them over the counter, just to people I know, not like over the counter,” said Hogg, who lives in Nottingham Road, Nuthall. He admitted breaking trademark rules for Amber Leaf and Golden Virginia tobacco on August 13 and the same charge relating to 61 packets of Richmond cigarettes.
Hogg also pleaded guilty to having 80 packs of cigarettes of several brands which did not carry health warnings.
He must pay £736 council costs and a government surcharge of £85.
Sarah Mills, prosecuting, said Gold Classic cigarettes were found behind a radio in the kitchen.
More were found in a mixing pot, some in a carrier bag and more on a kitchen work surface.
“He was asked about the cigarettes and said he got them from somebody with a view to sell them.
“He said he had not yet paid for them, with the money made split between him and the supplier,” said Miss Mills.
Hogg told the officers that he would have received £5 for every £25 made by the sales.
Miss Mills said the cigarettes had a street value of £5 a packet, nearly half the price of legal smokes.
Hand-rolling tobacco was sold for £18 a pouch but could be bought illegally for £5.
■ You can report tax evasion on the HMRC hotline 0800 788 887
TRADESMAN TOOK SHARE OF PROCEEDS FROM SALE OF ILLEGAL CIGARETTES
J. Hogg & Son butchers in Woodside Road, Nottingham.