Man appears in court following discovery of three quarters of a tonne of illegal tobacco in Norwich

Illegal tobacco seized by Norfolk Police and Norfolk County Council. PIC: Submitted by Norfolk Count

Illegal tobacco seized by Norfolk Police and Norfolk County Council. PIC: Submitted by Norfolk County Council. - Credit: Archant

A man has appeared in court following a raid in which the largest haul of illegal tobacco uncovered by Norfolk Trading Standards was found amounting to an estimated three quarters of a tonne and worth thousands of pounds.

He Ping, 48, was arrested after Norfolk Trading Standards officers working with police raided the address at Notykin Street in the Clover Hill area of Norwich, on December 18, after members of the public reported suspicious activity at the property.

Ping, of Notykin Street, appeared at Norwich Crown Court via videolink from HMP Norwich on Thursday (January 18) for a plea and trial preparation hearing.

He is due to face six charges but although Ping, who spoke through a Mandarin-speaking interpreter, confirmed his details during the short hearing no pleas were entered.

Jonathan Goodman, representing Ping, said he needed time to go through the six charges with his client but indicated a trial would not be needed.

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Judge Stephen Holt adjourned the case until February 15 when it is hoped Ping might be sentenced.

Ping was remanded in custody until the next hearing.

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As previously reported Ping was found on the premises and officers also discovered in the raid a manufacturing set-up with an estimated 750kg of tobacco, counterfeit plastic tobacco pouches and other equipment used in the production of illegal tobacco.

Norwich Magistrates Court was told last month that the alleged counterfeit tobacco found in the raid was for Golden Virginia and Amber Leaf and there was a 'high degree of professionalism' involved in the operation.

Following the raid, Margaret Dewsbury, chairman of the Norfolk County Council's communities committee said: 'This is a great result for the Norfolk County Council Trading Standards team, and will severely disrupt the production of alleged illegal tobacco in Norfolk.

She also wanted to thank those that reported their concerns.

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