A SHOP has been forced to close its doors by Barnsley Council for illegally selling illicit tobacco products on its premises.
Regulatory services officers worked alongside South Yorkshire Police, the landlord of the property and their property management team, which resulted in the closure of Biedronka European Mini Market on High Street, Wombwell.
The locks were also changed to ensure the tenant was unable to enter the building and continue to sell the illegal products they had.
It is part of the ongoing work between the council and its partners to prevent and tackle the trade of illicit - and subsequently dangerous - tobacco products on the town’s streets.
In the past year there has been a number of charges brought to shopkeepers who have been selling illicit cigarettes.
Late in 2021, thousands of illegal cigs were found by officials at a Cudworth shop, leaving 31-year-old shop owner Hussain Anwari, of Honeywell Close, to pay £2,000 in costs and receive a 26-week prison sentence, suspended for 12 months.
Just weeks prior and Dilzar Kadir Ahmad, 35, of Blenheim Avenue, pleaded guilty to seven charges under the Tobacco and Related Products Regulations 2016 and Standardised Packaging of Tobacco Products Regulations 2015.
It came after officers visited the 7 Day Store on the Peel Arcade and found a large quantity of smuggled cigarettes hidden underneath the floor of one of his store rooms.
A council spokesperson added: “The team are reminding residents not to purchase non-duty paid or smuggled cigarettes.
“Though all tobacco products are harmful, illegal cigarettes do pose more of a risk.
“They’re also encouraging landlords to report any illegal cigarette trading that they’re aware of on their properties, as not doing so could lead to them being taken to court.”
All the legal cigarettes sold in the UK are manufactured to meet a reduced ignition propensity (RIP) requirement which means they are self-extinguishable.
This significantly reduces the chance they can set fire to beds, sofas and any other type of combustible materials.
However, some of the illegal cigarettes that are being sold are not self-extinguishable and have subsequently been attributed to a number of house fires and deaths.
Coun Jim Andrews, cabinet spokesperson for public health, said: “All tobacco is harmful but illegal cigarettes pose more of a risk.
“Our regulatory services team are doing fantastic work to tackle illegal tobacco trade in the borough and encouraging landlords to report illegal cigarette trading.”
There are a number of ways to spot illegal cigarettes, including the packaging, price and taste of the product.
There are often spelling mistakes and no picture health warnings on the packaging of illegal products, they are usually cheaper than others and the taste and smell is unusual.
Coun James Higginbottom, who represents the Wombwell ward, added: “Whilst any cigarette poses a serious risk to health, illegally manufactured produce is especially dangerous and has no place in our communities.
“I’d like to thank Barnsley Council’s diligent and hard-working regulatory services officers for their work throughout this investigation.”