A c-store in Dudley has been closed after its owners tried to fool trading standards officers, stated recent reports.
According to local reports, the Famous Shop on Dudley High Street was forcibly closed for three months after a Wolverhampton Magistrates Court hearing.
The same owners of Dudley Mini Market, closed in November 2022 for also selling illegal tobacco and vapes, opened Famous across the road to keep feeding their customers demand. However, trading standards officers from Dudley Council carried out seven sting operations at this new shop, leading to the successful seizures of illegal cigarettes and vapes.
Attempting to evade an upcoming closure order, a “new owner” was paraded in front of court in July 2023, objecting to the closure order. Herman Mohammed Mustafa, aged 39, claimed to magistrates his new business was now legal, and he had never had any previous dealings with illegal tobacco.
However, Dudley trading standards officers testified Mustafa was caught with illegal tobacco in 2014 and was present in another shop in 2017, where illegal tobacco was found.
Trading standards also carried out two further sting operations in August and October 2023, after Mr Mustafa took control of the business where illegal tobacco and vapes were again recovered.
The court also heard that these illegal goods were stored in various places including bags, vehicles and at 84 and 83 High Street, Dudley. The court was informed that on October 11, Dudley Magistrates Court granted three-month closure orders for the two premises.
Magistrates agreed it was an attempt to circumvent proceedings and the illegal activity had not stopped. They granted a closure order for three months.
Councillor Ian Bevan, Dudley’s cabinet member for public health, said, “This is an excellent result that shows we will not tolerate illegitimate businesses using underhanded tactics in order to prevent enforcement action.
“Our trading standards team worked very efficiently to close all three premises, and obtaining the necessary evidence when a new owner claimed to have taken over the business and no longer sold these illegal goods.
“This closure order sends a clear message that we will do all we can to keep our communities safe and ensure fair competition for legitimate businesses in our borough.”