Wisbech store sold counterfeit tobacco

Wisbech Off licence. 2A Nene Quay.

Wisbech Off licence. 2A Nene Quay. - Credit: Archant

A Wisbech town centre store could have its licence taken away from it after police discovered owners were selling counterfeit tobacco.

The tobacco contained “foreign substances” that police said was a risk to public safety prompting a call for the licence removal.

Police said the most common substances found in counterfeit tobaccos was asbestos and rat droppings.

Police searched Wisbech Off Licence in Nene Quay following a tip-off and found the storeholder 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.


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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.

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The store owner 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 the owner 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.”

Sgt Dave Bax, licensing officer, has submitted the paperwork to call for a review of the premises’ licence.

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