TWO men who were caught by police with hundreds of dodgy cigarettes and tobacco worth more than £5,000 have been fined.

Paul Parfitt, of Southcote Lane, Reading, and Luke Thorp, of no fixed abode, both admitted to a single offence at Reading Magistrates' Court after a tip-off from a member of the public.

Police were called to a car park in Bracknell in September last year when they received a call about men exchanging bin bags of tobacco from vehicles.

Packets of tobacco were seized and none of it was carrying an official marking to confirm duty had been paid.

Parfitt, 51, and Thorp, 25, were both fined £750 after admitting to a single offence under the Tobacco Products Duty Act 1979.

Steve Loudoun, chairman of the Public Protection Partnership Management Board, said: "This was an expensive lesson to learn.

"Not only is each facing a penalty with costs and surcharge of £1,075, they have also lost a substantial amount of tobacco with a retail value in excess of £5,000 and picked up a criminal record in the process.

"The legislation is there for a good reason and where it is breached we will investigate."

The duty that should have been paid on the hand rolling tobacco amounted to more than £4,400 and the duty owed on the cigarettes was worth £224.