March off-licence Europa - twice stripped of its licence over the sale of illicit tobacco - to have licence reviewed again

Europa on Broad Street, March, will have its premises licence reviewed again next month.

Europa on Broad Street, March, will have its premises licence reviewed again next month. - Credit: Archant

A March off-licence that allegedly imported and sold illicit cigarettes and tobacco to under age children is to have its premises licence reviewed for a third time.

March Food Store, known as Europa, on Broad Street, was stripped of its premises licence for a second time in April after the district council’s licensing committee felt the shop was being used for “illegal purposes” and was a risk to the public.

That decision came after an investigation by PC Phil Richardson, designated police licensing officer for Fenland and Andrew Fayers of Cambridgeshire Trading Standards led to the seizure of over 11,000 cigarettes and 1,750 grams of hand rolling tobacco from the store last year.

The review decided a “revocation of the premises licence in its entirety” was the best way to deal with the issue – a decision which license holder, Julija Miliauskiene, later appealed against.

That appeal, however, was withdrawn and the licensing committee agreed to hold another review last Thursday (September 21) thanks to another request from PC Richardson and Mr Fayers.

He said in an application: “We remain concerned that there’s clear evidence that the premises is being used to store and supply illicit tobacco.

“It is requested that the premises licence is reviewed in the interest of protecting the people of March and Fenland.”

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The review was adjourned until November 21 due to a recent application to transfer the licence.

Minutes of last week’s meeting said how Turkish national Seref Sarilmaz had lodged an application to be made premise licence holder on Wednesday (20) but there was an “issue of validity of the application” and that the issue is ongoing.

Europa was initially granted a licence in December last year – despite objections from PC Richardson and Mr Fayers, who were concerned about the sale of illicit cigarettes and tobacco after another haul was found during its time as March Food Store.

Their claims were rejected by the licensing sub committee, who said they were “historical” and that “no proof was given to link unlawful activities to the applicant”.

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