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Two Seaham businesses closed after thousands of pounds’ worth of illegal cigarettes seized

May 28, 2024 | Local News

Two Seaham businesses have been ordered to close for three months after more than £7,000 worth of illegal cigarettes and vapes were seized.

Durham County Council secured closure orders for European Mini Market, on Church Street, and Ardo’s Barbers, of Adelaide Row, in Seaham.

Peterlee Magistrates’ Court heard that the council’s community protection team carried out an inspection of European Mini Market following a test purchase of two packets of illicit cigarettes.

No illegal products were found at the shop, however officers found that the premises was linked to Ardo’s Barbers by a fire escape passage.

Officers carried out an inspection of Ardo’s Barbers later that day, where 420 non-compliant vapes and a small number of packs of cigarettes, valued at around £5,539 in total, were seized.

The products were confirmed to have been stored on behalf of European Mini Market, which prompted an immediate revisit to the shop, where a bag and suitcase containing further illicit cigarettes, hand rolling tobacco and vapes totalling £2,157 in value were seized.

Magistrates granted the closure order on the grounds of causing a nuisance to the local community and the businesses were ordered to pay £1,709 each in costs.

Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head of community protection, said: “The sale of illegal cigarettes and tobacco products has a significant impact on the community. It poses a serious health risk to people and makes it easier for young people to purchase illicit products. It also has a financial impact on other businesses in the area which are compliant with the law.

“This order shows that retailers who flout the law by selling illicit products will face a visit from our officers and they can face closure and court action.”

Anyone who wishes to pass on information anonymously about the sale of illicit tobacco, can contact Keep it Out on 0300 999 00 00 or online at www.keep-it-out.co.uk

For support on quitting smoking, contact Smoke Free County Durham on 0800 772 0565 or at www.smokefreecountydurham.co.uk.