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    Stockton c-store closed for selling illegal cigarettes

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    A Stockton town centre shop found to be selling illegal cigarettes has been closed down.

    Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council stated that it has secured the three-month closure of The Blue Shop on Norton Road at Teesside Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday (23).

    The Court heard how the Council acted following test purchases carried out last month by Trading Standards officers.

    At The Blue Shop, a packet of cigarettes could be bought for £5, well below the usual price of more than £12. The cigarettes did not have standardised packaging or required unique identification number.

    The Court also heard of complaints that children as young as 14 had bought cigarettes from the shop.

    Carolyn Nice, Director of Adults, Health and Wellbeing at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said, “This is another excellent result for our Trading Standards team, who have acted swiftly and decisively to bring this closure order forward.

    “The fact that these illegal cigarettes were also being sold to children is particularly concerning – and the closure order is another example of the zero tolerance approach we take.

    This work was carried out as part of Operation Cece, which is run in partnership with the National Trading Standards and HMRC to help tackle the sales of illicit tobacco.

    Lord Michael Bichard, Chair, National Trading Standards, said, “The trade in illegal tobacco harms local communities and affects honest businesses operating within the law.

    “Having removed 27 million illegal cigarettes, 7,500kg of hand rolling tobacco and almost 175kg of shisha products from sale, the National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC continues to successfully disrupt this illicit trade.”

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