Northampton

Fake Viagra importer from Northampton jailed

An importer of fake Viagra pills into Britain from India and China has been jailed for a year.

Victor Cheke, 42, from Northampton, pleaded guilty in July to possessing counterfeit medicinal products to sell and importing fake, unlicensed drugs.

Cheke was caught after UK Border Agency staff at Coventry Airport intercepted parcels containing tens of thousands of tablets, Northampton Crown Court heard.

The packages, addressed to his home, contained up to 16,500 tablets each.

'Dangerous consequences'

The court heard warehouse worker Cheke, of Leyside Court, intended to sell the pills for 25p each.

Passing sentence, Judge Richard Bray told him: "These were serious offences because the drugs could have had unpleasant or even dangerous consequences for those who used them.

"There are good reasons which require drugs such as this to be licensed and sold on prescription."

Judge Bray said the offences were aggravated by the defendant's previous conviction for benefit fraud and a caution he received in April 2009 relating to 29,000 tablets which had been imported from India.

Prosecutor Emma Deacon told the court the case concerned the unlawful importation and onward sale of fake products and several unlicensed drugs, which cannot be sold over the counter or on the internet because of potential side-effects.

Among the parcels to be intercepted at Coventry Airport was one found in August last year which contained toy cars as a "cover" for the tablets.

Other packages recovered two months later contained a total of more than 37,000 erectile dysfunction pills, the court heard, and tablet strips were also found at the defendant's home after his arrest.

Cheke pleaded guilty on the basis that he was initially a conduit for the importation of the tablets, but had then decided to sell the drugs himself.

Rebecca Wade, mitigating on behalf of Cheke, told Judge Bray: "This defendant now has an insight into what he did and he knows that what he did was wrong.

"He understands these drugs ought only to be sold and provided by prescription."

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