24th April 2024

Closure order for illicit cigarette shop

A Stockton-on-Tees shop that sold illegal tobacco has been shuttered following a court decision.

By JTS Staff
Journal of Trading Standards' in-house team
The trade in illegal tobacco harms local communities and affects honest businesses operating within the law

A three-month closure order has been imposed on a shop in Stockton-on-Tees that was found to be selling illegal cigarettes, following action by Trading Standards.

The Blue Shop on Norton Road in the County Durham town was shuttered on 23 April after Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council secured the order at Teesside Magistrates’ Court.

A Trading Standards Officer affixes the closure order to the shuttered premises (image credit: Stockton-on-Tees Council)

Officers from Stockton-on-Tees Trading Standards carried out test purchases at the retailer in March, and discovered packets of cigarettes on sale for as little as £5. The cigarettes did not have standardised packaging or display the legally required unique identification number.

The Court also heard of complaints that children as young as 14 had bought cigarettes from the shop.

Carolyn Nice, Director of Adults, Health and Wellbeing at Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, said: “This is another excellent result for our Trading Standards team, who have acted swiftly and decisively to bring this closure order forward.

“The fact that these illegal cigarettes were also being sold to children is particularly concerning – and the closure order is another example of the zero-tolerance approach we take.”

The inspections were conducted under Operation Cece, which is run in partnership with National Trading Standards (NTS) and HMRC to help tackle the sales of illicit tobacco.

NTS Chair, Lord Michael Bichard, said: “The trade in illegal tobacco harms local communities and affects honest businesses operating within the law.

“Having removed 27 million illegal cigarettes, 7,500kg of hand rolling tobacco and almost 175kg of shisha products from sale, the National Trading Standards initiative in partnership with HMRC continues to successfully disrupt this illicit trade.”

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