Shop loses licence after counterfeit goods found

Aro Mini Market in ManninghamImage source, google
Image caption,

Aro Mini Market in Manningham was found to have counterfeit goods inside

  • Published

A shop in Bradford has had its alcohol licence removed after it was found to be selling cheap counterfeit cigarettes.

An undercover Trading Standards officer visited Aro Mini Market in Manningham in November 2023 and was able to buy a packet of cigarettes for £4.

A later search uncovered counterfeit goods valued at £21,000 including 800 packs of counterfeit cigarettes, hand-rolling tobacco and non-duty paid Shisha tobacco.

A Trading Standards spokesperson said selling counterfeit tobacco harms "legitimate" local businesses.

Duty not paid

The shop had its licence reviewed on Thursday at a Bradford Council meeting attended by Hemen Haji Kadri Salihi, the shop owner and licence holder.

He informed members he has changed his name to Hemen Jalal since he was first granted the licence in 2016.

David Mullins, from Trading Standards, told the meeting that a 20-pack of cigarettes would usually cost at least £12 – and so the £4 cost at this store showed that duty had not been paid.

He said the low price of these cigarettes would harm efforts to encourage people to stop smoking, according to the Local Democracy Reporting Service.

Mr Mullins also said shops like this damaged “honest” businesses and could lead to retailers closing – "causing the local economy to suffer".

Image source, LDRS
Image caption,

The shop was selling cigarettes for as little as £4 per packet

When asked if the store was being prosecuted, Mr Mullins said the amount of tobacco seized was not high enough for Trading Standards to initiate criminal proceedings.

Mr Jalal told the panel that he handed the shop over to another man in 2020 and took back control of the business in February of this year.

He argued that none of the illegal activity took place while he was in charge or had ownership of the store.

He said he had called the new owner after handing over the store several times – asking if he had changed the licence details.

This apparently never happened and Mr Jalal remained the legal licence holder for the period in question.

Mr Jalal said the shop would likely have to shut if it lost its alcohol licence.

After a deliberation, members voted to revoke the store’s licence.

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