A STORE which bought illicit tobacco and stashed 1000’s of dodgy cigarettes in its ceiling has been shut down.
Vilem Grocery, in Middlesbrough’s Crescent Street, was ordered to close by Teesside Magistrates Courtroom on Tuesday following a raid earlier this month.
Buying and selling requirements groups, Cleveland Police and a tobacco detection canine helped the seizure 10,800 illicit cigarettes and greater than 6lbs of hand rolling tobacco.
The merchandise had been discovered hid in a ceiling cover.
Many didn’t show the proper labelling together with well being warnings – and plenty of of them had been counterfeit.
The three month closure order was handed down on Tuesday morning with a paper copy pinned up on the store.
A legal investigation is continuous for now.
Judith Hedgley, from Middlesbrough Council’s public safety service, mentioned the seizure confirmed the more and more refined strategies being utilized by these within the illicit tobacco commerce.
She added: “Officers from the service will proceed to hunt out these supplying illicit tobacco and we are going to use all authorized powers accessible to us – together with the elevated use of closure orders – to stamp out this despicable commerce.”
In the meantime, Middlesbrough Mayor Andy Preston mentioned illicit tobacco wasn’t a “victimless crime”.
“It’s linked to organised crime, with deadly penalties for all concerned,” he added.
“Not solely does it convey crime into our communities, it’s additionally a key purpose for our younger folks taking on smoking.
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“We have to stamp that out – and this closure order sends out a transparent warning that we’re coming after those that assume they will make a fast buck by placing different folks’s lives in danger.”
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