TENS of thousands of pounds were recovered as 60 cases of illegal trading were tackled in Caerphilly county borough last year.

Thirty cases taken to court by Caerphilly council’s Trading Standards department resulted in financial penalties of £34,000, made up of fines, consumer compensation and council costs.

Courts also handed out suspended jail sentences, 850 hours of unpaid work, possession and banning orders in relation to keeping animals, forfeiture of counterfeit goods and illicit tobacco and ordered defendants to attend drug rehabilitation schemes.

Other action taken by the team included the issue of fixed penalty notices and cautions.

Officers responded to consumer complaints and intelligence over motor vehicles, trade marks (counterfeiting), illicit tobacco sales and more.

Test purchasing run in partnership with Gwent Police also saw undercover 16-year-olds attempt to purchase age-restricted items to identify businesses selling children such items as alcohol and cigarettes.

Cllr Dave Poole, cabinet member for community and leisure services at Caerphilly council, said: “Our Trading Standards team work extremely hard to stamp out illegal activity and ensure the rights of consumers are protected. The plethora of convictions and cautions should send a clear message that we will take action where appropriate.”

Contact the team on 01495 235291 or see www.caerphilly.gov.uk/tradingstandards