Shop loses license after illegal alcohol and cigarette sales
A Spalding shop found by police to be selling illegal cigarettes and alcohol has had its premises license revoked by South Holland District Council’s licensing panel.
Seven Days Euro Shop, based on Westlode Street, was in front of the panel after three visits this year by police uncovered evidence of breaches, including the selling of illegal foreign branded cigarettes, selling alcohol below the mandatory price and the keeping of smuggled goods on the premises.
On March 15 police had conducted a test purchase using volunteers, which had resulted in the acquiring of illegal cigarettes. This was followed by another visit on July 12 where 224 cans of beers being sold below the mandatory price were seized from the premises. A further visit on July 27 saw two more packets of illegal cigarettes purchased, which led to a full search of the premises by police.
Across the visits staff were unable to communicate key information to police, including the displaying and adherence to licensing rules around under-age sales, the identity and location of the license holder and designated premises supervisor and on any training or knowledge of the general running of the store that they had received.
Unfortunately the council does not have the power to close down businesses in these circumstances
License holder Ali Hussein Hassani was not present at the hearing today (Thursday), where the SHDC panel ruled that the premises license be revoked, subject to appeal, due to a concerning lack of control over the premises and an inability to put forward any evidence to suggest the submissions of the police were incorrect.
Coun Anthony Casson, portfolio holder for public protection, supported the panel’s decision, saying: “Our police, Trading Standard officers and public protection team at the council work hard every day to ensure that the people of South Holland are kept safe from harm.
“Unfortunately the council does not have the power to close down businesses in these circumstances, but I am pleased that action has been taken to revoke the alcohol license of premises clearly not following licensing laws in the district.
“We have always taken a hard line against illegal cigarettes and alcohol in South Holland following several tragic incidents involving them in recent years. Aside from the clear and well-known safety issues associated with them, it’s clear that illegal sales such as those taking place at these premises take business away from other legitimate retailers.
“I also hope this decision will send out a clear message to other business owners who think that they can get away with similar illegal behaviour that we can and will take action.”
The ban on alcohol sales at the premises will come into effect from October 31 depending on whether an appeal is lodged in the magistrates court.
For more information on licensing laws and regulations, visit www.sholland.gov.uk/Licensing
Sergeant Kim Enderby, alcohol licensing manager for the county said, “What we discovered was deliberate criminal activity, selling cheap, dangerous cigarettes to the public of Spalding.
"Alongside the dodgy cigarettes and non-duty alcohol we found that all members of staff encountered had absolutely no training and little understanding of their responsibilities when selling alcohol.
"They breached a number of the mandatory conditions on their licence and were unable to contact or identify an individual who was actually in charge of the business.
The main purpose for establishing this business was to facilitate the sale of illegal alcohol and cigarettes
"I think the fact that no one connected to this store attended at the hearing, speaks volumes. The main purpose for establishing this business was to facilitate the sale of illegal alcohol and cigarettes, anything else was secondary.
"This is an excellent decision by the council, sending a clear message to all criminals involved in this type of activity on licensed premises.
"This is the fourth licence we have seen revoked in Lincolnshire in the last ten days. Stores that have had their licences revoked but continue with illegal sales can also expect to be targeted by Lincolnshire Police and partner agencies."