Hull prosecution and licence review
An off-licence in Hull has had its premise licence revoked after counterfeit alcohol and smuggled tobacco was found on the property.
Humberside Police and Hull City Council launched a review after owner Balend Ahmad Khader was prosecuted at Magistrates court in May.
He was sentenced to six weeks imprisonment suspended for 12 months with costs of £1,200 for the two offences under the Trade Marks Act and the Tobacco Products Labelling Regulations.
On Thursday 24 January, Tobacco Control Officers from Hull City Council, together with colleagues from Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) Inland Detection Team conducted an operation in and around Hull.
The purpose of the operation was to ensure that retail premises were complying with tobacco control legislation and other licensing legislation.
Upon entering ‘Wisla’ of 412 Beverley Road, Hull, there was found to be over 15,000 foreign labelled cigarettes concealed in a specially constructed box built into the floor of a store room on the premises. These, together with £2,700 cash were seized by HM Revenue and Customs.
During the inspection, a total of 43 x 70cl bottles of Smirnoff vodka were also seized as they were suspected of being counterfeit.
Sample products were forwarded to the brand manufacturer and also the Public Analyst and confirmation was received that the vodka was indeed a counterfeit product of the brand.
Councillor John Hewitt, Portfolio Holder for Neighbourhoods and Communities, said:
“Our job is to protect the public and law abiding businesses. This prosecution shows our commitment to protecting them against businesses that break the law and offer counterfeit and fraudulently labelled alcohol and illicit tobacco.
“Our Trading Standards and Licensing teams work in partnership with the Police to tackle those who put the safety of the public at risk and we will continue to take action against them”.
Councillor Sean Chaytor, Deputy Chair of Licensing Committee, said:
“After evidence regarding the counterfeit alcohol was given by Trading Standards and Humberside Police, the decision to remove the sale of alcohol from the licence was taken.
“The safety of the public was paramount to the review and the Licensing Authority will do all it can to protect them in the future”.
Maddy Ratnett from HM Revenue and Customs said:
"We will continue to work with Trading Standards and other agencies in targeting those premises that continue to operate illegally. This is not an innocent or victimless crime but one that encourages otherwise honest people to trade with criminals.
“The gangs behind this form of criminality reap huge profits which are ploughed straight back into the criminal underworld, feeding other criminal activities.
“Members of the public can help us in the fight against this criminality by reporting anyone they suspect of selling smuggled or counterfeit alcohol by calling our 24-hour hotline on 0800 59 5000."
Gary Parker from Humberside Police said:
“This type of crime undermines legitimate operators and Humberside Police will work with their partners to detect and prosecute those who are involved in the importation and sale of non duty paid goods”.
Mr Khader now has 28 days to appeal for the decision to be overturned, after which alcohol sales will no longer be permitted at the premises.
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