Police are seeking a review of a Spalding restaurant’s drinks licence over alleged “illegal sales of alcohol” and “keeping of smuggled goods” on the premises.
Station 25, at 25 Station Street, is the second business to spark a police request for a review in recent days.
A public notice displayed at the restaurant and on the council website does not reveal the nature of the “smuggled goods” while, as previously reported, a shop identified as the Lithuanian Grocery, at 82 Holbeach Road, Spalding, is alleged to be selling “non-duty, foreign labelled cigarettes” and “foreign labelled medicines”.
Four people have died in Spalding house fires linked to sales of fake or foreign cigarettes in the last five years, including June Buffham (71), who perished at her home in Stonegate in April 2012.
June’s daughter, Julie Grant, this week repeated her calls for the Government to give licensing teams the power to stop shopkeepers potentially dealing in death.
As the law stands, licensing authorities like South Holland District Council can only strip shopkeepers of their licence to sell alcohol when they are caught dealing in illicit cigarettes.
Julie said: “In my opinion, the Government could do more by bringing in licensing legislation for the sale of tobacco products, giving the local licensing teams the powers to be able to close down any business caught selling illicit goods.
“It should be ‘one strike and you are out’, not a gentle slap on the wrist from the courts.
“The Government appear to be very concerned about the loss of tax revenue from sales but less interested in the ‘real’ fire safety dangers and not to mention the health risks.
“That said whilst the price of legitimate cigarettes is so high, even myself – as a non-smoker – can understand why some may risk all of this to save money.
“This issue is UK wide, every day there are news stories about shops being caught, fined and in some cases custodial sentences given. Personally I cheer every time I read such an article but there is still so much more work to be done and until the Government take a stance on it we will sadly see sales continuing.”
Earlier this year Julie asked the public to back her petition to the Government to stub out sales of illicit cigarettes but it fell by the wayside as the petition was forced to close down when the General Election was called.
Fake cigarettes also claimed the lives of three men, who died in a fire at a house in multiple occupation in Tower Lane, in May 2016.
In the case of Station 25, police are seeking the review on three licensing objectives – the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety and public nuisance. The closing date for comments (“by a responsible authority or person”) on the application is Wednesday, August 23.
So far as the Lithuanian Grocery is concerned, police are also seeking a review on three licensing objectives – the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety and the protection of children from harm. Tomorrow (Wednesday) is the closing date for comments.
• Should cigarette sales be licensed? Email firstname.lastname@example.org