The Paramilitary Crime Task Force (PCTF) welcomed the prosecution of a man from Newtownards for the offences of acquiring criminal property and concealing criminal property linked to an illegal operation profiting from contraband cigarettes, fireworks and clothing. Mr Darren Waggott received a sentence of 100 hours community service and 2 years’ probation yesterday.
Mr Waggott was arrested in 2017 following a search of his property. PSNI seized £11,000 in cash, a mobile phone and a ledger detailing the sale of almost £350,000 worth of contraband goods including cigarettes, fireworks and clothing.
Detective Inspector Lynne Knox from the PCTF said: “The conviction and sentencing of Mr Waggot highlights the strength of the PCTF in bringing together PSNI, HMRC and the National Crime Agency and the impact that we can have in tackling organised crime and those that gain from it.
“Cheap counterfeit goods or cigarettes may seem like a bargain but there is no such thing as a victimless crime. Evidence shows that money made from the sale of counterfeit goods is used to fund other forms of crime. Also, by purchasing illegal goods, revenue to the legitimate economy is lost putting jobs at risk and resulting in less money available for public services like health and education. Communities end up paying the price whilst paramilitaries profit.
“I would appeal for anyone with information regarding criminality by paramilitary organisations to contact police on 101. Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”