Two shops have their licences revoked for selling illicit tobacco
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Two shops in the north of the county have had their licences revoked after being found to be selling illicit tobacco.
Alma Express in Montagu Street, Kettering, and Rogalik in Midland Road, Wellingborough, have both had their licences taken away from them following two separate licencing hearings.
Alma Express came to police officers’ attention when a multi-agency visit from police officers and officers from HMRC and Trading Standards found the shop to be selling illicit tobacco and alcohol that had not had the duty paid.
Following this initial visit, undercover police officers went into the shop on two more occasions, and both times were able to purchase the illicit tobacco.
The shop was also subsequently found to be employing an illegal worker.
Rogalik was also found to be selling illicit tobacco and also sold it to undercover police officers on two separate occasions. When searched, the premises even had a secret hole in their wall which housed the illicit goods away from the legitimate ones.
The sale of illicit tobacco costs the taxpayer in excess of two billion pounds in lost revenue per year.
Licensing Sergeant Simon Moreton, said: “On the surface, this may just look like a simple job of taking illegal goods, which are often dangerous and could seriously damage people’s health, off our streets in Northamptonshire.
“However, there is a much bigger picture here. Illicit tobacco has links to serious and organised crime - the tackling of which is an absolute priority for Northamptonshire Police.
“The work we have been doing here also aims to safeguard vulnerable people. Illegal workers are often treated poorly – they have no rights, no access to basic things like sick pay, and do not have anyone to turn if they are unhappy.
“It is our duty to investigate and tackle this and we will continue to do so alongside our partners at Trading Standards and HMRC.”
Both premises have 21 days to appeal the decision to revoke their licences.