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Abertillery shop ordered to close following illegal tobacco sales

Abertillery (Adobe Stock)

A shop in Abertillery has been ordered to close by a Judge sitting in Newport Magistrates Court following a Trading Standards investigation that revealed the sale of illegal cigarettes and tobacco.

Abertillery Mini Market, in Somerset Street, was served a Closure Notice by Blaenau Gwent Council following a prolonged period of intelligence gathering, inspections of the premises and test purchases which supported concerns raised by the public about the sales of illegal cigarettes and tobacco from the store.

The owner of the store contested the notice, and a hearing was held at Newport Magistrates’ Court. The owner, Mr Rand Adam, represented himself at the hearing and told the court he took over the business on the 1 April 2023. He said that he did not sell illegal tobacco in his shop, and made an allegation that the test purchase carried out on April 18 would not have resulted in the purchase of illegal tobacco and that this was “lies due to the Council having issues with the previous owner.”

The Court however accepted the evidence that the test purchase took place on 18 April 2023 and that the tobacco purchased was counterfeit following disclosure of expert evidence. The court further accepted that the criminal activities of selling counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco were continuing even after the change of business owner.

The court granted a closure order for three months until 2 August 2023, or until a further order is made. Access to the store is prohibited however access to the flat above the shop was permitted by the tenant.

Councillor Helen Cunningham, the Council’s Cabinet Member for Place & Environment says:

“We are pleased with the outcome of the court hearing and thank our Trading Standards team for carrying out such a thorough investigation. The council listened to residents concerns and took an appropriate course of action. We hope this will serve as a warning to other businesses that are tempted to engage in illegal activity”

The Council utilised statutory powers under the Anti-Social Behaviour Crime and Policing Act 2014 to issue a Closure Notice.