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    Bedford shop loses licence after officials uncover 14,000 counterfeit cigarettes

    PJ Supermarket on Aspley Road, Bedford (Photo via LDRS)

    A Bedford shop found to be storing 14,000 counterfeit cigarettes has had its alcohol licence revoked.

    Bedford Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee published its ruling on 29 June, deciding the fate of PJ Supermarket on Aspley Road.

    Trading standards officers and Bedfordshire Police have called for the alcohol licence for the store to be revoked following a visit to the shop last November.

    As well as 14,000 counterfeit cigarettes and 5kg of hand rolling tobacco, trading standards and police discovered Indian chewing tobacco that cannot be sold in this country. The discoveries followed a tip-off.

    At a previous meeting, Jennifer Brenton, the barrister representing licence holder, Param Jit, said that loss of income from alcohol sales would make it impossible to continue to trade.

    “The aim of the licensing legislation is not to punish but to uphold the licensing objectives,” she has said, suggesting instead measures like suspension of the licence for three months, removing Jit as licence holder and attaching stronger conditions to the licence.

    She also added that the grocery store has support from customers who find it a safe and convenient place to buy goods.

    She, however, did not contest the facts put to the three councillors who were meeting to decide what to do about the shop’s licence.

    Although alcohol licences do not regulate the sale of cigarettes, the committee meeting last week was told there is a link to promoting the licensing objectives. These are the prevention of crime and disorder; public safety; the prevention of public nuisance; and the protection of children from harm.


    David Tooley of the Local Democracy Reporting Service contributed to this report.  

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