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Performance pill peddling pensioner takes medicine in court

Press release -

Performance pill peddling pensioner takes medicine in court

A London pensioner who peddled smuggled cigarettes and huge quantities of illegal, Viagra-type medicine had to swallow a bitter pill today after being jailed for 15 months at Isleworth Crown Court.

Brian Hipwood, 65, was arrested, half-naked, in an alleyway at the rear of his house, after attempting to flee from a visit by HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC). He was clutching a large bag of unlicensed Viagra-type pills.

A search inside Hipwood’s home and two lock-up units revealed a hoard of 79,000 unlicensed male performance boosting tablets. HMRC officers also unearthed a stash of 100,000 non-duty-paid cigarettes, 180kg of tobacco and 1,700 Diazepam tablets.

John Cooper, Assistant Director, Criminal Investigation, said:

“Brian Hipwood ran a number of businesses selling books and general merchandise. It is clear that he was also running an illegal enterprise by supplying smuggled and non-licensed items. Our intervention made his efforts less profitable than he had hoped.

“We continue to investigate and collect evidence against those who have no regard for the law or their customers.”

The duty evaded on the tobacco and cigarettes is estimated at £46,000. The value of the non-licensed medicines is around £65,000 and the Diazepam £650. HMRC was assisted in its investigations by the Medicines and Healthcare Products Regulatory Agency (MHRA).

Notes for editors

Defendant’s details: Brian Hipwood of Hanger Vale Lane, Ealing, London. DOB 25/04/47.

Hipwood was arrested in June 2011 and appeared for trial in March 2013. He was found guilty on 14 March 2013 of:

  • one count of Cheating the Public Revenue, in relation to the cigarettes and tobacco;
  • nine counts of possession of a medicinal product without a marketing authorisation, contrary to the Medicines for Human Use Regulations 1994; and
  • one count of possession with intent to supply a class C drug, contrary to the Misuse of Drugs Act 1974.



Issued by HM Revenue & Customs Press Office

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is the UK’s tax authority.

HMRC is responsible for making sure that the money is available to fund the UK’s public services and for helping families and individuals with targeted financial support.

Press contacts

HMRC Regional Press Officer - London

Regional Press Officer London 03000 519 451

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