Fears store will sell illegal tobacco if given licence

PUBLISHED: 10:33 08 July 2020 | UPDATED: 10:33 08 July 2020

The Vilnius European Supermarket, on London Road in King's Lynn Picture:Archant

The Vilnius European Supermarket, on London Road in King's Lynn Picture:Archant


Police and trading standards officers say a supermarket should not be given a licence to sell alcohol.

Bestwn Tofik has applied for a premises licence for the Vilnius European Supermarket on London Road, in King’s Lynn.

Councillors must be satisfied that so-called licensing objectives are satisfied - including the prevention of crime and disorder - before they grant it.

In response to the application, Norfolk trading standards says it fears if permitted, the shop will be used for the sale of illegal tobacco.

“We have concerns that the licensing objectives will not be met regarding the potential supply of illegal tobacco products,” it says in a statement.

“We are aware that in many cases retail outlets such as the one at 119 London Road are

controlled by individual(s) who remain well in the back ground and put in place other

persons to manage the supply of illegal tobacco from the shop.

“It is our concern that the applicant is the next one in line in this process.”

Norfolk police have also opposed the application. The force said: “Police assert this application is an attempt to enhance the criminal operation at 119 London Road and will so undermine the crime and disorder licensing objective.

“The storage and supply of smuggled tobacco products is a specific offence under S144

Licensing Act 2003. Police object to the issue of this premises licence on this basis.”

Vilnius was formerly known as the Kubus East European Market. In 2017, a man was given a six-month prison sentence, suspended for two years, after he admitted 13 charges relating to illegal tobacco products. It came after a raid on Kubus found illegal tobacco products worth more than £5,000.

The man was later ordered to pay back more than £43,000 after a proceeds of crime hearing.

In September 2016, a raid uncovered 6,150 packets of illegal cigarettes hidden in the store. Two months later, officers found 3,150 packets and illegal tobacco hidden behind a fridge.

West Norfolk council’s licensing committee will discuss the application on Thursday, July 16.

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