A Derry man and former professional footballer was nabbed with a haul of fake goods, including almost €50,000 worth of tobacco and cigarettes, when Gardai raided his home in Donegal.
Kevin Doherty, 46, with an address at Fern Park, Derry, pleaded guilty at Letterkenny Circuit Court.
Cops swooped on Doherty’s home at Aileach Valley, Elaghbeg, Burnfoot on June 11, 2019 and found the stash of goods in a shed located to the rear of the house.
Detective Garda Joe English outlined details of the raid in court.
Doherty was charged with having for sale or delivery 33,600 Excellence cigarettes, 12,200 Lambert & Butler Original Silver cigarettes, 400 Sterling Super King cigarettes and 2,000 Mayfair cigarettes, as well as other items including 10000mg Premium Blend, 105 40g packages of of Domingo tobacco, 16 50g pouches of Golden Virginia tobacco, 230 50g pouches of Flandria Golden tobacco, 100 50g packets of Flandria Golden tobacco.
A customs officer confirmed that the haul did not bear the appropriate Irish tax stamp.
The total value of the cigarettes was €37,833.30 and the tobacco was to the value of €12,186.78.
Doherty was found in possession in the course of a business items of clothing bearing the marks of brands such as Adidas, New Balance, Nike, North Face, Vans, Lacoste, Fred Perry, Ralph Lauren, Stone Island and Gym King.
The stash included 29 Manchester United jerseys, 19 Liverpool jerseys, 20 Celtic jerseys and 19 Barcelona jerseys as well as almost 250 pairs of Nike and Vans trainers and a quantity of 645 DVDs and CDs.
Doherty pleaded guilty to offences contrary to to the Finance Act, 2005 and the Trade Marks Act, 1996.
Initially, Doherty told Gardai that he was storing the products for someone else and that he did not have a key for the shed.
Doherty, who has severn previous convictions for similar offences in Northern Ireland, later admitted that he received cigarettes and tobacco in return for holding the merchandise. He was in debt to the owner, the court heard, due to a gambling problem.
Barrister for Doherty, Mr Gareth McGrory, said Doherty was a talented football and had signed with Premier League club Southampton when he was 16 and played football at a variety of other clubs in England before returning home, where he worked for several companies, including Seagate. Doherty now operates a shop, out of a small portacabin, in the Galliagh area of Derry.
Doherty, Mr McGrory said, had to remortgage his flat due to the excess of his gambling. Doherty is a father-of-two and Mr McGrory said the defendant was willing to obtain an address in Donegal in order that he be suitable for community service.
Judge John Aylmer adjourned the case until next Wednesday, May 25, for sentencing.
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