Closure order for illegal tobacco store

A convenience store in Dudley where bosses evaded almost £1million in taxes through the sale of illegal tobacco has been ordered to close.

Dudley Sun Express in High Street will close for three months. It follows a string of complaints about the sale of illegal tobacco and vapes over the past 12 months.

Dudley Council trading standards team was granted the closure order for three months when the case appeared at Dudley Magistrates Court on September 7th.

The court was told the business opened in September 2021 but since then there had been 20 separate seizures of illegal goods. Magistrates were also told there had been complaints from other traders about anti-social behaviour amongst customers at the store.

HMRC estimated that the revenue the business had evaded through the sale of the illegal tobacco was worth almost £1 million, the court was told.

Despite warning letters from the local authority, the problems continued and the council successfully applied for a 24-hour closure on September 6, before a three-month closure until December this year. Councillor Ian Bevan, cabinet member for public health, said:

"This is an excellent result and stops the sale of illegal tobacco in its tracks. Not only does the sale of illegal tobacco hit the public purse, it is a very real threat to people’s health.

"Legitimate businesses are hugely undermined by these sorts of activities and it simply is not fair. This closure order sends a clear message that we will do all we can to keep our communities safe and regenerate towns by removing illegitimate businesses and supporting our law abiding traders."

Trading standards officers are working with the owners of the premises to help them ensure that future tenants comply with the law.


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