A MACROOM ice cream van owner has been fined by the Revenue Commissioners for intention to sell contraband cigarettes he bought from a Traveller at the Ploughing Championships.
Barry Phelan of 9 Ard Na Greine, Macroom appeared at Macroom District Court charged with possessing tobacco products kept for sale without tax stamps.
The court heard that on October 4, 2011, gardai acting on foot of information stopped Mr Phelan's van in which they found 1,000 unstamped 'Classic' branded cigarettes without the required customs certificates.
Mr Phelan admitted that he bought the cigarettes from a Traveller at the Ploughing Championships and intended to sell them.
The estimated loss to the State would have been approximately €260, Judge James McNulty was told.
Sean Cahill, solicitor for Mr Phelan, said his client was an out of work quantity surveyor who is married with three children. He had taken part in a back to work scheme and has bought an icecream van to try an earn money, Mr Cahill explained. Mr Phelan experienced a seasonal downturn in trade at the time of the offense, he added.
Judge McNulty imposed the minimum fine of €2,500 on Mr Phelan.
"He seems like a good man who went astray, this should be a lesson to anyone who may consider dabbling in contraband," Judge McNulty said.