Shop keeper fined and faces a challenge to his licence after counterfeit tobacco discovered during police raid
17:02 10 January 2014
A Wisbech shop keeper has admitted keeping smuggled goods on his premises and has been fined £200.
Hassan Pispar appeared before Kings Lynn magistrates yesterday and also ordered to produce his personal licence to the court.
He was charged under section 144 of the Licensing Act 2003 “keeping smuggled goods on a licensed premise”.
Following his conviction Fenland Council is to conduct a review of his licence after discovery of the tobacco which police said was a risk to public safety.
Sgt Dave Bax, licensing officer, has submitted the paperwork to call for a review of the premises’ licence.
He said: “I knew the Golden Virginia was counterfeit as I have found this stuff before, it can contain factory floor sweepings, and even asbestos, smoking is bad enough without these added poison.”
Police searched Wisbech Off Licence, in Nene Quay, following a tip-off and found the store holder had “bulging pockets” which were full of Jin Ling and Minsk tobaccos.
Foreign packets of Marlboro and Golden Virginia were stashed inside his trouser legs.
A further search revealed two black bags of coins hidden under shelving behind the counter and a blue bag containing a large quantity of Golden Virginia tobacco under the bottom shelf of a unit holding bags of sugar.
At the bottom of a shelving unit in a storeroom were two black bags containing more tobacco products.
Pispar confirmed he had been contemplating surrendering his premise licence and displayed a sign saying that all alcoholic drinks were removed, according to a report due to go before Fenland District Council’s licensing committee.
But he had not followed official procedures to end it and as such his licence still existed, the report said.
“Voluntary removal of the alcohol does not remove the licence,” said the report.
Police searched the shop on December 2 and on December 7 during a police interview he admitted knowing the cigarettes and tobacco were on his premises, along with the coins.
He said he bought the tobacco products for £25 from a man who came into his shop at the beginning of December.
“It was noted he had UK Duty Paid cigarettes on display and the cash till was fully operational,” said the report.
“The sale of smuggled goods should be taken particularly seriously by the authority and they should be expected to revoke the licence.”