MORE than £6,000 worth of illegal alcohol and cigarettes have been seized during a raid on a Burton store – only weeks after it was stripped of its right to sell booze.
Staffordshire Police and Staffordshire County Council’s trading standards department swooped on High Street News in the town following reports that its shelves were again being stocked with illicit products.
It came only weeks after the convenience store’s licence was revoked following an application by trading standards officers.
Chief Inspector Steve Maskrey, commander of the East Staffordshire local policing unit, said: “This was a great result for all involved and is a real message that we will not tolerate people who flout the law.
“It is also great to see that so many illegal products have now been taken off the streets of Burton.”
Sergeant Tracey Carsley, of Staffordshire Police’s southern licensing unit, revealed that the retail value of the alcohol seized was £4,670.
The raid also saw 20 packets of cigarettes and 50g of tobacco recovered.
The value would equate to £750 of cigarettes and £769.50 of tobacco if they were legitimate products.
This meant that the overall value of good seized totalled £6,191.50.
The operation took place less than six months after the shop was first raided as part of a series targeting off-licences in the town centre.
During the first raid, 7,000 cigarettes were stashed beyond a panel on the floor behind the counter.
A spokesman for trading standards said: “Illicit tobacco presents a serious health concern and undermines Government efforts to reduce smoking. Legitimate cigarettes carry a significant duty levy in an effort to support that reduction in smoking. However, illicit tobacco products do not carry this levy and, therefore, undermine this effort and law abiding businesses are disadvantaged by this dishonest competition.
“Trading standards take the sale of illicit tobacco very seriously and will continue to take action wherever it is found.
“Should anyone have concerns about the tobacco they are being offered they can report it to Crimestoppers on 0800 555111 or Citizens Advice Consumer helpline on 08454 040506.”
More information is also available online at www.staffordshire.gov.uk/fakes
The force that revealed that no arrests had been made but investigations were still ‘ongoing’.
It is also understood that the owner of High Street News has launched an appeal into the decision to revoke his alcohol licence.
When approached by the Mail, staff members at the shop refused to speak and said only ‘no comment’.