Vow ‘to keep feet on the pedal’ on illegal tobacco sales in South Holland

Recycling illegal cigarettes seized by police and trading standards in Spalding.  Photo supplied by Lincolnshire County Council.
Recycling illegal cigarettes seized by police and trading standards in Spalding. Photo supplied by Lincolnshire County Council.
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A police sergeant tackling the sale of illegal cigarettes and alcohol in South Holland has pledged there will be no let-up in efforts to stop smuggling.

Sergeant (Sgt) Kimble Enderby vowed that Lincolnshire Police’s Alcohol Licensing Team was “keeping our feet on the pedal” after he revealed that another shop in Spalding is to have its premises licence reviewed after a recent raid.

There’s no perception from us that the job is done and we’re still aware that the problem exists because as we achieve one success, the criminals find another way to smuggle goods over here

Sergeant Kimble Enderby, Lincolnshire Police Alcohol Licensing Team

The Lithuanian Grocery store in Holbeach Road could have its right to sell alcohol removed after police and Lincolnshire Trading Standards officers found counterfeit cigarettes and medicines on the premises in April.

Speaking to the Spalding Guardian about a meeting of South Holland District Council’s licensing committee earlier this month, Sgt Enderby said: “We have a review pending for a premises in South Holland where they were selling illegal cigarettes.

“Some information came through to us and we did some test purchases before carrying out a raid where illegal cigarettes were seized.

“It’s about reassuring the community and letting them know what we’re doing about detecting counterfeit and smuggled goods, such as linking up with other agencies such as Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs and the Home Office.”

During the meeting with district councillors, Sgt Enderby spoke about the extent of his team’s work which also involved modern slavery and exploitation, as well as under-age test purchases and shops are used as a front by organised crime gangs.

“All we really did was to give a State of the Nation address as to where we are with tackling the sale of counterfeit and smuggled goods in Lincolnshire,” Sgt Enderby said.

“We showed the committee examples of illegal goods we had found, both in South Holland and elsewhere in the county, including wines and spirits that we had recovered.

“There was also an ongoing discussion about how we are keeping our feet on the pedal as regards what happens once we get the alcohol off the illegal sellers.

“We’re finding that whereas 18 months ago they would have put in a fresh application to get their licences back, they don’t tend to now.”

“There’s no perception from us that the job is done and we’re still aware that the problem exists because as we achieve one success, the criminals find another way to smuggle goods over here.

“We want to encourage members of the public to make us aware of it and we’ll do what we can.”

Sgt Enderby was joined by another member of the alcohol licensing team, PC Jon Evans, in talking to licensing committee members in Spalding earlier this month.

After the meeting, committee chairman Coun Angela Harrison, said: “Sgt Enderby and PC Evans spoke broadly about the work of the alcohol licensing team and how they work in partnership with district councils and trading standards.

“They discussed some current initiatives, including working with immigration officers to target illegal working in Lincolnshire, test purchasing for under-age sales of alcohol and the difficulties in tackling the sale of illegal tobacco.

“It was a positive meeting and I would like to thank Lincolnshire Police for their continued work with our licensing team.”