A supermarket in Rushden has had its licence revoked following an investigation by Northamptonshire Police's Licensing Department.
The International Supermarket in High Street, Rushden, came to the attention of officers following complaints of underage sales of alcohol taking place at the premises.
A visit was subsequently conducted at the beginning of October 2021 by police licensing officers, alongside partners from North Northants Council’s Trading Standards and Licensing Department, uncovering criminality and exploitation.
During the visit, smuggled and illicit cigarettes that had not had the duty paid on them were discovered, amounting to 185 packets or 6,210 individual cigarettes.
The sole person working at the premises at the time of the visit was also subsequently found to have an outstanding asylum claim and did not have the right to work in the UK.
As a result, a hearing before the Licensing Committee took place on December 14, 2021, resulting in the revocation of the premise’s licence.
Licensing Sergeant Simon Moreton, said: “On the surface, this may seem like a simple job of taking illegal goods off the streets and ensuring alcohol isn’t served to minors, but these sorts of premises often hide a far darker criminality – exploitation and modern slavery.
“As well as taking illicit items off the streets of Northamptonshire, this investigation also involved the safeguarding of a vulnerable person.
“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.
“There is a much bigger picture here with links to serious and organised crime - the tackling of which is an absolute priority for Northamptonshire Police.
“Furthermore, the sale of illicit tobacco costs the taxpayer in excess of two billion pounds in lost revenue per year.
“It is our duty to investigate and tackle crimes like this and we will continue to do so alongside our partners at Trading Standards and HMRC.”