Council uses shop closure powers for first time relating to illicit tobacco

Sam Euro Style in Wolverhampton has been closed by a court order

Trading Standards officers found there was no smoke without fire after raiding a shop in Wolverhampton where they believed counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco were being sold from.

Magistrates have now issued the maximum three-month closure order for Sam Euro Style in Whitmore Reans. This is the first time the council has served a closure notice relating to illicit tobacco and is part of a new approach to prevent further anti-social behaviour and criminal behaviour linked to the premises.

Sam Euro Style has a history of complaints and has been subject to nine inspections and seizures regarding illicit tobacco and alcohol by both Wolverhampton Trading Standards and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

Cllr Steve Evans, City of Wolverhampton Council’s cabinet member for city environment and climate change, said: “There are organised criminals behind that pack of 20 ‘knock-off’ cigarettes that you might be tempted to buy and they are bringing crime into our communities.

“Our Trading Standards team are tireless in their attempts to rid the city of this scourge and this closure order shows how seriously we take the problem.”

This latest raid follows years of enforcement activity leading to the jailing of the previous owner and the revocation of a premises licence to sell alcohol.

The latest raid in June found 250,000 illicit cigarettes, a machete and an imitation firearm in the shop and a neighbouring house.

Officers also found 250,000 cigarettes in a shipping container located at a house in Walsall that could be linked to the convenience store.