OAP admits counterfeit ciggie fraud

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A PENSIONER who admitted a £5,000-plus tobacco fraud has been warned he faces jail.

Ian Fitton, 67, pleaded guilty to fraudulently evading paying duty on a large stash of cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco when he appeared before Wigan Magistrates’ Court.

Fitton, of Maple Crescent, Leigh, had previously been convicted of selling cigarettes to children through a window in his house.

Prosecutors told how officers from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) and trading standards requested to search the defendant’s house on August 11 last year. Officers discovered a large stash of counterfeit cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco.

The defendant initially said he had bought the goods from a friend for his own personal use but, in a police interview, would not comment.

Mr Joseph Cheminais, defending, urged justices to give his client credit for his early guilty pleas and said the defendant had acquired the tobacco from “an acquaintance” and that it was mainly for his own use.

The case was adjourned until March 7.