Off licence had been ‘consistently used for counterfeit crime’

Off Licence and Groceries Store, High Street, Boston

Off Licence and Groceries Store, High Street, Boston

Have your say

Counterfeit cigarettes hidden in secret compartments have led to two people being banned from selling alcohol and tobacco.

The people behind Boston Food and Wine Centre and Central Food and Wine at the time of raids this summer were stripped of their licences at two meetings of Boston Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee on Wednesday.

Central Food and Wine, West Street, Boston.

Central Food and Wine, West Street, Boston.

Raids were carried out at both premises by HM Revenue and Customs, Trading Standards and police on July 18.

At Boston Food and Wine Centre, in High Street, police used a crowbar to break into a panel behind the counter. Inside they found a ‘secret compartment’ containing fake cigarettes. Smuggled tobacco and alcohol were also seized.

It was revealed the premises’ previous licences had been revoked following raids in 2010 and 2011. The current licence holder took over in August this year. He was not present at the meeting.

Pc Ian Figgitt told the committee: “The historical evidence shows this premises has been consistently used for the benefit of counterfeit crime under the guise of the licence granted by this council.”

At Central Food and Wine, in West Street, illicit tobacco and wine was found hidden in a box of beer, behind an extractor fan in the store room, behind the counter and in a jacket.

The current licence holder told the committee he had not been aware illegal activity had been taking place, and had received no profit from the shop or the non duty-paid products. The licensees have 21 days to appeal.