Shop loses its licence for selling illegal cigarettes

Kubus in Spalding's Sheep Market.
Kubus in Spalding's Sheep Market.

A shop where tens of thousands of illegal cigarettes were found has lost its licence.

Kubus in Spalding’s Sheep Market has been ordered to remove all the alcohol from its shelves and is not allowed to start selling it again unless it obtains a new licence.

However, it will be allowed to carry on selling cigarettes as retailers do not require a licence to sell them.

The removal of the shop’s licence follows a raid carried out earlier this year by HM Revenue and Customs and Lincolnshire Police.

Officers requested a review of the licence after what is believed to be almost 90,000 non-duty paid cigarettes were found on the premises.

It is believed that the unpaid duty on that amount of cigarettes could total around £30,000.

The licence was initially revoked on September 19 following a South Holland District Council licensing committee hearing, but the shop lodged an appeal and was allowed to carry on selling alcohol in the interim.

The appeal was due to be heard at Spalding Magistrates’ Court on Thursday.

But before the hearing could begin, South Holland District Council argued that the appeal had not been lodged within the statutory time of 21 days and after listening to legal arguments put forward by both side, magistrates agreed the appeal had not been properly lodged and annulled Kubus’s licence.

Trading Stadards is now pursuing a prosecution in relation to the seized cigarettes and declined to comment on the licence annulment.

But Coun Malcolm Chandler, South Holland District Council portfolio holder for regulatory services, said: “South Holland District Council’s Licensing Committee takes very seriously its role in ensuring that licensed premises act properly and within the law.

“This robust action demonstrates that the committee is prepared to revoke a licence if that is not the case.

“The evidence provided to the panel by the police, HMRC and Trading Standards was restricted but so compelling as to convince the panel that there were serious breaches of the Licensing Act 2003 which warranted the decision to revoke the premises licence.

“Action is still ongoing so further details cannot yet be made public.”