On 15 February 2019, at Warwick Crown Court Bartiomiej Karczewski, aged 35, and Paulina Karczewski aged 32, both of Watersmeet Road, were sentenced for selling illicit tobacco and alcohol via Facebook
The couple had previously pleaded guilty on 18 January 2019.
Bartiomiej Karczewski was sentenced to 6 months imprisonment suspended for 12 months, ordered to undertake 150 hours unpaid work and pay costs of £1000.
Paulina Karczewski was sentenced to a 12 month Community Order, 100 hours unpaid work, and to pay costs of £1000.
The issue first came to the attention of Trading Standards when they received a complaint that Bartiomiej Karczewski was offering illicit tobacco products and alcohol on Facebook.
A copy of an advert showed that the tobacco did not comply with the appropriate labelling requirements, and was therefore believed to be non-duty paid.
Investigations led officers to another posting on Facebook, this time relating to alcohol and cigarettes and another offering Polish beer for sale.
A warrant of entry was obtained and executed and illicit tobacco and alcohol was found all over the house. In total 44500 cigarettes, 51 pouches of hand rolling tobacco and 143 bottles of Polish spirits and 34 bottles of beer were found. The tobacco included multiple brands, some of which were counterfeit.
In sentencing His Honour Judge Cooke was of the view that both were involved in running a business selling tobacco & alcohol but Bartiomiiej Karczewski took the leading role.
Cllr Christine Thomas, Chair of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, said: “I hope this case acts as a deterrent to those thinking of selling illicit products on social media platforms.
"The quantities involved showed a commercial operation and the multiple brands further indicated that they were not for private use.
"Where Trading Standards become aware of illicit products being sold they will investigate and act as appropriate. In this case this meant obtaining an entry warrant to enter someone’s home.”
To report the selling of illegal tobacco and alcohol, please call trading standards on 03454 040 506 or e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org