The discovery of the largest ever haul of illegal tobacco in East Sussex has landed a 36-year-old St Leonards man in jail.
Dany Dilan of Silchester Road was handed a three-year prison sentence after pleading guilty to five counts relating to trade marks, tobacco packaging and money laundering offences.
The conviction follows an inspection at a Hastings self-storage company by East Sussex Trading Standards, with a specially trained tobacco detection dog, in October 2018.
Officers found a large quantity of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco, the majority of which was counterfeit. If genuine, the haul would have been worth in excess of £250,000.
Cllr Rupert Simmons, East Sussex County Council’s lead member for economy, said: “Our officers work tirelessly to reduce the supply of illegal tobacco in East Sussex and this latest conviction, the largest haul they have ever uncovered, demonstrates how committed they are.
“The sale of illegal tobacco brings organised crime into our county and encourages smoking among young people due to cheaper prices and undermines efforts to discourage smoking.
“We hope that every conviction sends a clear message to anyone involved in the supply of illegal tobacco that we will not tolerate this in East Sussex and will do everything in our power to bring them to justice.”
Darrell Gale, Director of Public Health in East Sussex, added: “There are over 1,000 deaths linked to smoking in East Sussex every year. One in four smokers smoke illegal tobacco in East Sussex and this is higher in Hastings.
“Public Health will continue to work with Trading Standards and other partners across the county to tackle illegal tobacco, protecting our communities from tobacco addiction and its related harm.”
Sentencing at Brighton Crown Court on Tuesday, June 22, judge HHJ Barnes told Dilan that he was involved in a dishonest and dangerous trade and ordered the seized tobacco to be destroyed.
A confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act will be heard later this year.
Anyone who is aware of the sale of illegal tobacco can report it anonymously online at www.stop-illegal-tobacco.co.uk or call the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 6 999.