Grantham business has licence revoked after selling fake cigarettes and employing illegal immigrants

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A shop in Grantham has had a licence revoked after illegal cigarettes were seized and illegal immigrants were found working there.

Biedronka, on Wharf Road, Grantham, has had its Alcohol Premises Licence revoked by South Kesteven District Council.

The Alcohol Licensing Team from Lincolnshire Police submitted paperwork for a Licence Review Hearing, following two consecutive raids on the premises, when large quantities of illicit cigarettes were seized and the illegal worker was discovered there.

On Friday, May 12, a hearing was held in front of South Kesteven District Council Licensing Sub-Committee. After hearing all the evidence the committee agreed with the police that the premises had been actively involved in the illegal sale of illicit cigarettes and that the necessary right to work checks had not been completed for a male worker, who due to his current immigration status was barred from any form of employment but was found to be working alone at the store.

Because of this they believed the licensing objectives of the prevention of crime and public safety were being undermined and their licence was revoked.

The business has 21 days to appeal. If no appeal is submitted the licence will be revoked.

The store was initially raided in March 2017 when numerous breaches of the licence conditions were discovered and a hidden compartment was discovered underneath the serving counter.

This hide was found to contain a large amount of illegal cigarettes. During this raid the sole worker at the shop was found to be an illegal immigrant barred from any form of employment.

A second raid took place in April, following concerns that the store was still actively involved in the selling of illicit cigarettes. On the second raid police seized a larger quantity of cigarettes hidden in a stock room and again encountered an illegal worker serving in the store.

Sgt Kim Enderby, from the Alcohol Licensing Team, said: “This store was found to be actively involved in selling illicit cigarettes, employing illegal immigrants and breaching nearly all the conditions of their premises licence.

“All the cigarettes seized were illegal and included genuine product smuggled into the country, counterfeits (cheap cigarettes purporting to be a genuine brand), or fakes (pretend brands made for the illegal market). These fake cigarettes do not meet the necessary safety standards and will not self-extinguish. Four people have died in Lincolnshire as a direct result of house fires caused by smoking these unsafe, illegal cigarettes.

“Lincolnshire Police will continue to target those criminals involved in the trade of these illegal cigarettes. Similarly the employing of illegal workers is a serious offence within the Licensing Act. Employing illegal workers in this way exploits the worker and denies work to legal workers, whilst also giving the business unfair advantage over other legitimate businesses in the area.

“Lincolnshire Police are committed to preventing activity like this on licensed premises. I would appeal to members of the public who are aware of stores selling dangerous and illegal products to come forward with the information. We remain committed to the disruption, investigation and prosecution of all criminal behaviour being conducted on our licensed premises.”