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    Middlesbrough c-store shut down twice over illegal tobacco

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    A convenience store in Middlesbrough with alleged links with organised crime has been ordered to shut down for the second time in a month by trading standards’ officers over illegal tobacco operation.

    Teams first seized tobacco from Vegas convenience store in Abingdon Road, Middlesbrough, on March 5 and served it with a three-month closure order. Middlesbrough Council said the black market operation then “simply switched premises” to Pshdar, in Waterloo Road.

    Pshdar convenience store was served a three-month closure order on March 21 at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

    Seizures of illegal products and test purchases formed evidence in a joint investigation by Trading Standards and HMRC. The council said the operation involved “multiple people, premises and vehicles”.

    Middlesbrough Mayor Chris Cooke said, “This dangerous trade has clear links to organised crime, and we will do everything in our power to stamp it out.

    “It not only blights communities by driving up crime and anti-social behaviour, but puts people’s health at risk and damages legitimate businesses. “It’s indefensible, and we will continue to work with our partners to identify those responsible and bring them to justice.”

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