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Police to fight shop ownership plan

By Burton Mail  |  Posted: March 25, 2014

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POLICE will attempt to block a change of ownership at a Burton store after it emerged the proposed new licence holder was previously prosecuted for selling illegal tobacco.

A request to transfer the licence at the City Off-Licence, in Wellington Street, to allow Deria Hamad to take over the reins has been lodged with East Staffordshire Borough Council, with a decision due to be made next week.

Staffordshire Police has made it clear they will object to the proposal at the meeting due to Mr Hamad’s past while working in Derby.

His store was raided by police and trading standards officers in the city in 2010 and was found to be trading illicit tobacco.

Subsequent requests to sell alcohol were also refused in the wake of the incident, with licensing chiefs in Derby having previously said they had ‘no confidence’ in Mr Hamad’s ability to run a legitimate business.

Police will now be hoping councillors in Burton will come to the same conclusion.

PC David Evans, from Staffordshire Police’s southern licensing unit, said: “Staffordshire Police wishes to object to this application in its entirety because Mr Hamad has previously run a licensed premise in the Derby area from September 2010 which was subject of the seizure of illicit tobacco by Derby City Council’s trading standards that same year.

“We are satisfied that the exceptional circumstances of that case are such that granting the application would undermine the crime prevention and public safety licensing objectives.

“The serious criminal offence of selling illicit tobacco clearly undermines the licensing objectives and with this information in mind, Staffordshire Police object to this application by Mr Hamad.”

Police in Burton have stepped up their bid to crackdown on the sale of counterfeit alcohol and cigarettes over the past year, with a number of raids taking place across the town.

More than £10,000 worth of illegal cigarettes and tobacco has been seized in a string of raids in the past six months alone.

East Staffordshire Borough Council’s licensing committee are due to discuss the application on Thursday, April 3.

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