A Spalding store has dropped its appeal against its licence to sell alcohol being taken away after more illegal cigarettes were found there during a police raid.
Nasza Biedronka, of the Sheep Market, had its Alcohol Premises Licence revoked by South Holland District Council on January 29 and immediately appealed the decision, meaning it was able to continue selling alcohol until the appeal was heard.
Sergeant Kim Enderby from Lincolnshire Police’s alcohol licensing team said: “We first bought illegal cigarettes from this shop in an undercover test purchase operation on November 16, 2015. We then executed a number of search warrants on December 2, 2015. Nasza Biedronka was amongst the stores raided and we recovered a large quantity of illegal cigarettes.
“The premises were then taken to a licence review hearing and after assessing all the evidence, the council licensing sub-committee revoked their alcohol licence. The store immediately appealed this decision and unfortunately, under the Licensing Act legislation, they are then allowed to continue selling alcohol until the appeal is heard at magistrates court.
“Whilst awaiting a date to be set for an appeal hearing we received yet more intelligence indicating the store was still involved in the illicit sale of cigarettes so, on March 18 this year, we again conducted a test purchase, and again we were able to purchase foreign labelled cigarettes.
“We were then informed that the appeal hearing would be taking place on June 13, so on June 2 we did yet another test purchase operation where cigarettes were purchased, followed straight after by raiding the shop where even more cigarettes were seized.
For a period of eight months this store has been involved in serious criminal activity, despite repeated seizures and the revoking of their licence in JanuarySergeant Kim Enderby from Lincolnshire Police’s alcohol licensing team
“Following this last seizure, the premises informed the council’s legal team that they were withdrawing their appeal. This means that the licence is now revoked and they can no long sell alcohol.
“Lincolnshire Police, the council and other partner agencies remain frustrated that the appeal process within the Licensing Act can be taken advantage of in this way. For a period of eight months this store has been involved in serious criminal activity, despite repeated seizures and the revoking of their licence in January.
“It is often the public perception that little is being done about stores like this, whereas we are all actively taking what action we can under the existing legislation.
“The cigarettes we seized on our last raid were a combination of smuggled goods, where the duty had been evaded, counterfeit goods where cheaply made cigarettes are packaged as a legitimate brand, and fake cigarettes – a pretend brand containing cheaply made cigarettes.
“The fake and counterfeit brands present a real danger to members of the public purchasing them as they have in the past been found to contain human faeces, asbestos and sawdust. They don’t comply with safety regulations as they do not self-extinguish and have been linked to a number of house fires.
“If the price appears too good to be true, that’s because it is. I would appeal to members of the public not to put their health at risk by buying these products and to let us know where these cigarettes are being sold. Lincolnshire Police Alcohol Licensing Team will continue to pro-actively target premises involved in criminal activity.”