Licencing committee rejects fears of sale of illicit tobacco at March Food Store and grants alcohol licence

March Food Store, Broad Street.

March Food Store, Broad Street. - Credit: Archant

Fenland District Council’s licensing committee has defied Trading Standards and the police by granting an alcohol licence to a shop in March.

A license for March Food Store – formerly known as Europa – on Broad Street, was granted on Tuesday (December 6), despite objections from Trading Standards and alcohol licensing officer, PC Phil Richardson, who expressed concerns over the sale of illicit tobacco at the store.

March Food Store is at the same address where 30,000 illicit cigarettes and over 2kg of rolling tobacco were seized in March of last year, and senior Trading Standards officer Andrew Fayers and PC Richardson believe the sale of illegal tobacco would continue if the store was granted a license.

Mr Fayers said he “didn’t believe the shop has changed hands” and that it will “continue to sell illicit tobacco,” and PC Richardson said applicant Julija Milauskiene would “continue to flout the licensing objectives.”

However, the licensing committee dismissed their claims as “historical,” and said that “no proof was given to link unlawful activities to the applicant.”

It also said it “did not consider the unclear nature of the shop’s ownership would impact on the licensing objectives.”

The license was granted under the conditions that Ms Milauskiene must be on site “at all times” for the sale of alcohol and that no alcohol can be sold until “CCTV and other conditions can be met to the satisfaction of the Licensing Authority.”