Illegal Traders Stripped of Alcohol Licences

Friday 7 May

Two off-licences in West Yorkshire recently had their alcohol licences revoked because of their involvement in the sale of illegal tobacco products. 

On the 21st April 2021, the Calderdale Council Licensing Sub Committee met to hear an application for review of the licence to sell alcohol at 7 Days Mini Market, 226 Pellon Lane, Halifax, HX1 5RU.

In addition,  on the 5th May 2021 the Kirklees Council Licensing Sub Committee met to hear an application for review of the licence to sell alcohol at Polski Sklep, 10 Broadway House, Foundry Street, Dewsbury, WF13 1QQ.

The review applications were submitted by West Yorkshire Police in conjunction with West Yorkshire Trading Standards after multi agency operations. Trading Standards Officers carried out test purchases at the stores, and where illegal tobacco was sold, this was then followed up with inspection visits.  Large quantities of illegal tobacco were seized from both stores. The tobacco was hidden in a wall cavity inside 7 days Mini Market and a chute was being used to drop the tobacco down into the store from the room above it at Polski Sklep.

Despite this being the first time illegal tobacco had been seized from the stores, both alcohol licences were revoked due to the serious nature of the offences.

The Tackling Illicit Tobacco for Better Health Programme, funded by the five Public Health departments, is helping people to stop tobacco use for good by educating the public and by investigating traders who supply cheap and illicit tobacco. The initiative uses multi-agency enforcement and community marketing campaigns to tackle the problems of the illicit trade.

To date the programme has taken nearly 7 million illicit cigarettes and 2.5 tonnes of illicit hand rolling tobacco off the streets of West Yorkshire. With more inspections planned in the coming weeks, these figures are set to increase. Training sessions with thousands of members of the public and hundreds of front line professionals have been delivered to raise awareness about the dangers and wider criminality associated with the supply of illicit tobacco.

Linda Davis, West Yorkshire Trading Standards Manager said, “I fully support the action taken by the sub committees against these stores. This sends out the strong message to traders that if illegal tobacco is found on premises on just one occasion, the business is at  serious risk of losing its licence to sell alcohol. Far from being a victimless crime, illegal tobacco trading creates a cheap source for children and young people and encourages adults to continue smoking by eroding cost motivation to quit. It is also linked to organised crime, human trafficking and money laundering and contributes to an underground economy worth hundreds of millions of pounds.”

If you need to report a trader selling cheap and illicit tobacco please contact the Illegal Tobacco Hotline on 0300 999 0000 or report it at https://keep-it-out.co.uk/ anonymously.

More information about the campaign can be found on the website and anyone wanting help to quit can find their local Stop Smoking Service at

https://www.nhs.uk/smokefree

For further information please contact Babul Hussain babul.hussain@wyjs.org.uk