Swindon shop could lose alcohol licence after illegal tobacco seizure

By Aled Thomas, Local Democracy Reporter

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Havelock News in Swindon in June 2018 (Photo: Google)

The licence to sell alcohol at a newsagents and convenience store which was closed by court order after thousands of illegally smuggled cigarettes were found there could be removed on Monday.

Wiltshire Police has applied to Swindon Borough Council’s licensing panel to revoke the licence held by Jean Ravendran to sell liquor at Havelock News, sometimes called Havelock Stores.

The shop was closed for three montsh by order of Swindon Magistrates’ Court two weeks ago.

Police and Swindon Borough Council trading standards officers found illicit cigarettes and tobacco worth an estimated £9,400 over two raids at the shop in Havelock Street in June.

In the first on June 17, 600 packets of cigarettes and 43 packets of tobacco were found in a secret hydraulic lift. Three days later the shop had been restocked and 8,000 cigarettes and 42 packs of tobacco were found.

The licensee Jean Ravendran had sublet the shop to another man, Hadi Ali, the magistrates court was told.

The panel to consider the police application to revoke the licence will meet at 10.30am on Monday.