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    Coventry c-store ordered to close over illegal cigarettes

    Image from Coventry City Council

    A Coventry store has been ordered to close its doors for three months after a Council investigation revealed the continuing sale of illegal tobacco products and vapes.

    The Euro Mini Market on Far Gosford Street is the third store in the city to be issued with a closure order by the magistrates court, for selling illegal tobacco products and vapes. It is also the second premises to be shut in relation to the same landlords/owners.

    The action was taken after the store was found to be persistently selling illegal Cigarettes, hand-rolling tobacco, nicotine pouches and vaping products, despite earlier warnings and contact with landlords.

    The Council’s Trading Standards and Legal Services teams applied to the Court for the order, which was granted on April 17.

    The sale of illegal cigarettes means traders can avoid tax and undermine legitimate traders. They do not comply with UK labelling requirements and the low cost indicates duty and VAT payments have not been made on the cigarettes.

    Cigarettes and tobacco are sold at such low prices it makes them attractive to children, which can encourage smoking at an early age. Stores that sell illegal tobacco, contribute to anti-social behaviour within the local communities.

    Furthermore, these products can have a serious detriment to the public’s health. Vapes seized can contain many time the permitted volume of liquid containing nicotine encouraging addiction. Counterfeit tobacco can contain high levels of tar and nicotine, as well as, other unknown substances as the quality control during production is unknown. Illicit vapes can also contain excessive amounts of nicotine and some test reports have shown the presence of heavy metals. 

    Davina Blackburn, the Council’s lead on Regulatory services, said, “We work closely with the police and other agencies to assist businesses in raising standards for customers and we have great success with the vast majority of traders in the city. There are always occasions when we find illegal activities or poor management of retail and other premises, and we will always use all legal powers to tackle the issue.

    “We hope that the business operator takes the necessary steps to demonstrate changes over the next weeks and months.”

    The store has been ordered to close completely for three months and no-one is allowed to access or remain on the premises. Costs over £3500 were also awarded to the Council. 

    The District Judge said the order made under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 – was necessary to prevent nuisance, crime or disorder from continuing or recurring. The order is in place until 16 July 2024.

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