IP Information & News

Are you smoking counterfeit cigarettes?

It may be worth checking if you smoke Lambert & Butler or Mayfair cigarettes, or Amber Leaf hand rolling tobacco.

Over the course of six raids between December 23 and January 2, Border Force officers at Manchester airport seized a total of 1,012,800 cigarettes, which had been imported from China and were bound for the streets of Manchester.

Six separate consignments, labelled as foot stools, were inspected by officers who found hundreds of packets of cigarettes packed into the voids under the cushions. The cigarettes, branded as Lambert & Butler, were suspected to be counterfeit. It is understood that the goods, would have had a street value of nearly £400,000.

In addition, in raids at two properties in Durham during December, Trading Standards Officers seized over 77,000 cigarettes and 1,600 pouches of hand-rolling tobacco weighing 22.5kg. The estimated street value was £25,000. Officers conducted trap purchases before raiding and arresting the offender at his mini-market in Seaham.

The sale of tobacco is a lucrative business. Mayfair, Lambert & Butler and Amber Leaf have hundreds of registered trade marks worldwide covering tobacco products and articles in class 34 which were infringed by these counterfeit goods. Most genuine goods are subject to some form of quality control process, which standardises the products and contributes to the reason why consumers make repeat purchases. Counterfeit products are often of a substandard or inferior quality and can be harmful to the public and of course to the brand.

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