Rushden shop loses its licence after smuggled cigarettes and illegal worker found

A vulnerable person was also safeguarded after a raid in October

By Sam Wildman
Friday, 17th December 2021, 3:15 pm
Updated Friday, 17th December 2021, 3:16 pm
The shop has lost its licence.
The shop has lost its licence.

A Rushden shop has had its licence revoked after thousands of smuggled cigarettes were found in a raid.

Police and Trading Standards workers visited the International Supermarket in High Street in October after it came to their attention over complaints of underage alcohol sales.

And when they visited they uncovered criminality and exploitation - also safeguarding a vulnerable person.

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During the visit smuggled and illicit cigarettes that had not had the duty paid on them were discovered, amounting to 185 packets or 6,210 individual cigarettes.

The sole person working at the premises at the time was also subsequently found to have an outstanding asylum claim and did not have the right to work in the UK.

As a result a hearing before North Northamptonshire Council's licensing committee took place on December 14, resulting in the revocation of the premise’s licence.

Licensing Sergeant Simon Moreton said: “On the surface this may seem like a simple job of taking illegal goods off the streets and ensuring alcohol isn’t served to minors, but these sorts of premises often hide a far darker criminality - exploitation and modern slavery.

“As well as taking illicit items off the streets of Northamptonshire, this investigation also involved the safeguarding of a vulnerable person.

“Illegal workers are often treated poorly - they have no rights, no access to basic things like sick pay, and do not have anyone to turn if they are unhappy.

“There is a much bigger picture here with links to serious and organised crime - the tackling of which is an absolute priority for Northamptonshire Police.

“Furthermore, the sale of illicit tobacco costs the taxpayer in excess of £2bn in lost revenue per year.

“It is our duty to investigate and tackle crimes like this and we will continue to do so alongside our partners at Trading Standards and HMRC.”