Nearly 50,000 illegal cigarettes were discovered at a convenience store in Castleford.
Sniffer dogs were sent to search Castleford Mini Market with officers from the West Yorkshire Trading Standards Service (WYTSS) Trading Standards officers in May this year, after a tip off that the business was dealing in illegal tobacco, putting people’s health at risk.
Officers seized 2,461 illegal tobacco products, with an estimated street value of £9,844. They were concealed in boxes at the back of the Carlton Street store, a report to Wakefield Council’s Licensing Sub-Committee said.
The discovery, which included 47,000 individual cigarettes and 5.55kg of hand rolling tobacco, prompted the head of WYTSS to apply for the store’s premises licence to be reviewed. And at a meeting on Tuesday, the licensing committee decided to revoke it.
WYTSS case officer David Clutterbrook told the meeting the tobacco haul was “a very large amount” to find at one individual place.
He read aloud a WYTSS statement, which said: “The owner of this store has supplied illegal tobacco products and has shown a blatant disregard for the law.
“The supply of illegal tobacco causes genuine businesses to lose income, which in turn effects the local economy.”
The committee also heard how the council’s Licensing Enforcement Officer Paul Dean had carried out an enforcement check at the premises in August.
He discovered a number of offences being committed under the Licensing Act 2003.
He said the licence holder had shown a “complete failure” to promote the four licensing objectives - public safety, prevention of crime and disorder, prevention of public nuisance and protection of children from harm - and had shown “he is not fit and proper to hold a premises licence”.
West Yorkshire Police representatives said it was the first time the premises had “come on our radar” but said they supported the licence revocation.
Premises licence holder Pawel Mirga did not attend the meeting. The committee said they believed revoking the licence was “the only step” appropriate.
Images supplied by West Yorkshire Trading Standards