Shop which hid illegal cigarettes loses licence

A Kensington shop specialising in Eastern European food and drink has had its alcohol premises licence revoked.

The city council’s licensing and gambling sub-committee decided to take away the license from Alinka in Prescot Road after they heard evidence from the Alcohol and Tobacco Unit (ATU) about sales of illicit cigarettes and the storage of non-duty paid vodka.

The shop had been the subject of covert test purchases of cigarettes which had originated from Poland and Russia. It had been searched but no products recovered.

As a result, the ATU used a tobacco sniffer dog during a visit in June 2015. The dog indicated what appeared to be wooden panelling on a wall in the store room, but once the officers forcibly removed the panelling they discovered the hidden stash of 3,120 Marlboro Gold, Pall Mall and Mathat cigarettes.

Once the panelling was removed it revealed that the opening of the panelling was controlled by an electro-magnetic switch activated by a mobile phone charger plug.

The licence revocation is subject to any appeal by the premise licence holder.

Councillor Christine Banks , Chair of the Licensing Committee, said “It is important that we target this type of illegal activity. The sale of illicit alcohol and tobacco undermines initiatives to improve the health of residents in areas of Liverpool where health inequalities are of significant concern, particularly in relation to tobacco and alcohol related illness.

“Licence holders who continue to supply these products will be targeted, brought to the Licensing Committee and have their licence suspended or revoked.”

Liverpool Waterfront