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Grocery store alleged to have sold smuggled tobacco to children

PUBLISHED: 15:30 15 August 2019 | UPDATED: 08:37 16 August 2019

Victoria Store in Diss, which is facing a licence review amid allegations of selling smuggled tobacco. Picture: Simon Parkin

Victoria Store in Diss, which is facing a licence review amid allegations of selling smuggled tobacco. Picture: Simon Parkin

Archant

A grocery store has surrendered its premises licence amid allegations of smuggled tobacco being sold to children.

Norfolk Trading Standards had requested that South Norfolk Council review the licence of Victoria Store in Diss - also known as Food Plus Express.

The review application comes following allegations that the shop has stored smuggled tobacco - and, more seriously, that it had been sold to people under the age of 18.

A noticed placed on the door of the shop said the application had been received due to "storage and sale of smuggled tobacco and alleged sale of smuggled tobacco products to children".

The shop is owned by 33-year-old Andrei Vivelevici, who has recently opened a second business in the town - Victoria Market.

However, following the request, the shop owner voluntarily surrendered the licence and has stopped selling alcohol and tobacco.

Mr Vivelevici said: "I have never before had any problems.

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"I have cancelled my licence and I am not selling cigarettes any more. All I want is success for my family."

He said he did not know where they had come from, but said it had "turned into a big problem for me".

A spokesman for South Norfolk Council said: "The premises licence for Victoria Stores has been surrendered with effect from Wednesday, August 14.

"As a result, the review application has been cancelled."

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council's trading standards said: "This is part of an ongoing live investigation so we can not comment further at this time."

A Facebook page dedicated to the two stores has this week been deleted, which most recently advertised the opening of Victoria Market.

Earlier this year, trading standards bosses revealed how more than 1.2m illegal cigarettes had been seized in Norfolk over the previous 12 months.

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