Grantham store's alcohol licence revoked after thousands of illegal cigarettes and cans of alcohol discovered
A store in Grantham has had its alcohol premises licence revoked after thousands of fake cigarettes and cans of alcohol were seized last year.
South Kesteven District Council has taken away the licence from Malinka, on Wharf Road. The alcohol licensing team from Lincolnshire Police asked for a licence review hearing, following two consecutive raids on the premises. The store was also found to have close links to storage containers on Ruston Road, Grantham, which were broken into by police on November 27, from which 250,000 illicit cigarettes were seized and over 900,000 cans of alcohol.
On Friday, a hearing was held in front of the council's licensing sub-committee. The police outlined their evidence which they believed clearly showed that the store had been involved in the sale of smuggled alcohol and other illicit activity. The premises licence holder, Arako Ahmed, chose not to attend the hearing or submit any evidence.
There is a 21 day appeal process, but if no appeal is submitted then the licence is revoked.
The store was initially raided at the same time officers were breaking into shipping containers on Ruston Road, Grantham. Officers discovered breaches of the licence conditions with the CCTV not operating correctly and no staff training in place. The man who presented himself as manager of the store was known to the police as he had previously held the licence for another store on Wharf Road, Grantham, that had lost its licence in 2012, following the discovery of illicit cigarettes.
Sergeant Kim Enderby, Alcohol Licensing Manager for Lincolnshire Police, said: "This male was also found to be the person renting the storage containers where the massive seizure was taking place. A second raid took place on December 13, 2018. Police officers accompanied by officers from HMRC seized crates of beer, boxed wine and bottles of spirits which they believed were smuggled goods.
“The individuals we encountered at the store were found to have numerous links to other persons and stores where illicit cigarettes had previously been seized. We believe that the store was being used as way of selling the alcohol we seized from the storage containers on Ruston Road, Grantham.
"The alcohol seized from inside the store matched that seized from the storage containers. At no point since our initial raids has anyone connected to the store provided invoices or receipts to prove the alcohol had been purchased legitimately and we believe all the seized items are smuggled goods. HMRC are continuing their investigations.
“This is the second premises licence to be revoked in 2019 because of criminal activity linked to a licensed premises. Lincolnshire Police remain committed to preventing activity like this on our 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.”