Shop shut down over illegal vape and cigarette sales

A Norris Green shop found selling counterfeit cigarettes and illegal vapes has been forced to shut down.

Broadway Mini Market was found to be engaging in criminal behaviour for two years as it was being used to sell counterfeit and illegal tobacco and vaping products.

Wirral Magistrates Court was told despite visits from Liverpool Council’s alcohol and tobacco unit, as well as the seizure of goods, the store continued to offend.

As a result, the shop must close for 12 weeks after an action was brought under the Anti-Social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014 on Thursday.

The court was told how the business resorted to hiding counterfeit cigarettes inside speakers in the shop and concealing illicit stock inside a wall. It was said the continued illegal activity was causing a serious nuisance to members of the public.

Since April 2022, Liverpool Council has seized over 36,000 illegal vapes with a street value of £432,000 and a large number of prosecutions for under-age sales are pending.

Councillor Harry Doyle, cabinet member for public health, said, “This sends out a strong message to retailers that we won’t tolerate the sale of counterfeit and illegal tobacco and vaping products. As well as seizing goods, we are prepared to go to court to shut premises down if they persist with their illegal behaviour.

“We would urge anyone who knows of a store that is selling these types of products to contact us so that we can investigate.”

The shop is one of a number being investigated by the local authority. In May, 880 illicit cigarettes were found, as well as hand rolling tobacco that was also not permitted for sale at L6 Continental in Tuebrook. More than 70 bottles of various sizes containing counterfeit spirits and wine were available for purchase. 

Illegal vapes were also seized with a street value of £1,575. The cigarettes, tobacco and alcohol was valued at £1,520. According to representations from the council, when a staff member at the food store was approached and asked to account for the counterfeit goods, “he could not give a reasonable explanation just that he bought it off a Romanian male in a van.”

The shop will be subject to a licensing hearing later this year.

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