Convenience stores ordered to close after illegal tobacco sales

Three Dudley convenience stores have been ordered to shut after they were found to have been selling illegal tobacco.

Dudley Mini Market, UK Zabka and Ella Mini Market, all located in Dudley town centre, were told to close for three months after seizures were made.

Dudley Mini Market was ordered to shut its doors following a series of complaints about the sale of illegal tobacco and vaping products in the past 12 months. Thirteen seizures had been made since the business opened in 2019.

The case appeared before Dudley Magistrates Court on Wednesday 30 November, where Dudley Council’s trading standards team were granted the closure order.

UK Zabka appeared before the magistrates on Friday 2 December. The court heard that 14 seizures had taken place at the store, and the business owner had been informed of the council’s intention to close the premises last month.

In an effort to evade the closure order, the business owner then opened a new shop next door to UK Zabka named Ella Mini Market. Only three hours after the store opened last Monday, trading standards officers swooped in to seize more illegal tobacco that had been hidden behind a false wall.

The magistrates agreed that this was an attempt to circumvent the original business closure and granted a three-month closure order for both stores. Councillor Ian Bevan, cabinet member for public health, said:

"This is an excellent result that shows we will not tolerate illegitimate businesses using underhanded tactics in order to prevent enforcement action.

"Our trading standards team worked very efficiently to close all three shops, including Ella Mini Market, which had been opened specifically to sell these illegal goods.

"This closure order sends a clear message that we will do all we can to keep our communities safe and ensure fair competition for legitimate businesses in our borough."


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