A shop that was found to have the largest stash of illegal tobacco ever found in the region worth £150,000 could be stripped of its licence with a review planned for next week.
West Yorkshire Police and Wakefield Council’s licensing officer agree that the Sun Mini Market, on Wakefield’s Horbury Road, should be reviewed following the raid on the premises in October of last year.
Spread across two rooms, West Yorkshire Trading Standards (WYTS) say they found more than 46kg of illegal hand-rolling tobacco, over half-a-million cigarettes and a quantity of foreign-brand vodka for which no UK duty had been paid.
David Clutterbrook of WYTS said: “The owner of this store is involved in the supply illegal tobacco products and has shown a blatant disregard for the law.
“The haul represents the largest seizure of illegal tobacco products by WYTS to date and clearly shows the store is being used as a distribution point for illegal tobacco as well as its sale.
“The estimated street value of the seizure is in excess of £150,000 which gives an idea of the loss of tax revenue and scale of the harm being done by this illegal product. This action risks the health of many local citizens whilst subsequently depriving the exchequer of duty.”
WYTS recommends that Mr Joutiar Saeed should be removed as licence holder.
West Yorkshire Police agreed that the licence holder should be reviewed, adding that the shop had previously failed a test-purchasing exercise in which they sold alcohol to a minor.
The shop’s licence will be discussed at the sublicensing committee meeting at County Hall on Monday, March 12.