Shop's licence revoked as police pledge to continue to crack down on illegal cigarettes and alcohol sales in Boston

The cigarettes hidden in the 'hide'
The cigarettes hidden in the 'hide'

A Boston shop has had it's alcohol licence taken away by the council after police seized a large quantity of illegal cigarettes and non-duty alcohol from the store.

The Biedronka shop on High Street, kept thousands of illegal cigarettes hidden in an electronic 'hide' in the back stockroom.

After two visits by officers uncovered the sale of illicit cigarettes, police raided the shop and discovered the cigarettes as well as alcohol on which no duty had been paid.

After a request to review the licence of the shop by Lincolnshire Police, the council's licensing sub-committee agreed the premises had been actively involved in the illegal sale of illicit cigarettes and alcohol and revoked the licence.

The committee heard that the shop was targeted by Lincolnshire Police and two test purchase operations were carried out, with plainclothes volunteers purchasing illegal cigarettes on both occasions.

The store was then raided and officers seized non-duty paid vodka and over 600 cans of non-duty beer on sale in the store.

Biedronka

Biedronka

During the search of the stockroom area officers discovered thousands of cigarettes hidden behind a tiled wall. The cigarettes seized were a mixture of non-duty, counterfeit and illicit cigarettes.

The counterfeit and illicit cigarettes fail health and safety regulations, do not self-extinguish and have in the past been found to contain rat droppings, sawdust or human excrement mixed in with the tobacco.

Sergeant Kim Enderby, Alcohol Licensing Manager for the force, said, “What we discovered was a sophisticated electronic “Hide” designed to conceal their stash of illegal and dangerous cigarettes.

"We believe that the “Hide” was put in place at the same time this premises was converted into a shop. We believe that the main purpose for establishing this business was to facilitate the sale of illegal alcohol and cigarettes.

The hide in Biedronka

The hide in Biedronka

“This decision sends a clear message to criminals involved in this activity on licensed premises, and that message is - “we will catch and you will lose your premises licence.”

“Stores that have had their licences revoked but continue with illegal sales can also expect to be targeted by Lincolnshire Police and partner agencies. I would ask members of the public to help stop this illegal trading by reporting anything suspicious and just as importantly, I advise anyone thinking about using such a facility to stop buying these illicit products, and putting cash into the pockets of criminals.

“We remain committed to the disruption, investigation and prosecution of all criminal activity being conducted on our Licensed Premises.”

The store has is 21 days to appeal process; if no appeal is submitted then the revocation comes into action.