Doncaster shop owner stripped of alcohol licence after investigation
A Doncaster businessman is to be stripped of his licence to sell alcohol after a trading standards investigation revealed he was selling illicit cigarettes and drink.
A Doncaster Council licensing committee hearing was told Kulwinder Singh Wadhwa’s Bargain Beers shop, on Balby Road, was found to be selling illegal cigarettes and alcohol after a surveillance operation and test purchases.
It also emerged he had previously run Balby Mini Market, 300 yards away on Balby Road, which was caught selling illicit tobacco in 2015.
Environmental health officer Michael Griffiths visited Mr Wadhwa in November 2016 to warn him two ‘illicit’ traders were supplying alcohol in mass to licensees across South Yorkshire and advised him not to become involved with them.
He returned to Bargain Beers in February to warn Mr Wadhwa he was buying alcohol from illegal sources and should remove 24 brands of foreign imported and labelled drink from sale.
Mr Griffiths returned again with a warrant and found about half the drink still in a store cupboard.
Mr Wadhwa said he had been confused by the term ‘remove the alcohol from the premises’ and thought keeping it at the rear of the shop was enough. He refused to say where the rest of the stock was and ‘reluctantly’ disposed of what was left during the visit, said Mr Griffiths.
The premises had already been targeted in an operation after concerns over illicit tobacco sales.
During a test purchase Amber Leaf hand rolling tobacco without the correct health warnings was sold to a council officer.
They put the shop under surveillance and saw a shop worker walk to a car parked on Alexandra Avenue and return to the shop.
Trading standards officer Greg Bristol said the illicit tobacco sold in the shop had come from the car, registered to Mr Wadhwa.
On March 8, council officers executed a warrant at the shop and seized illicit tobacco and cigarettes from the car. They seized 5,650 cigarettes and 0.45kg of hand rolling tobacco. None of it had the relevant health warnings.
Mr Bristol said: “The attempt to conceal the product is a key factor. Storing illicit tobacco in a vehicle is a common modus operandi.”
Mr Wadhwa claimed the tobacco was for personal use and could not explain the sale of the tobacco in the test purchase.
He told the committee the tobacco had been sold by another member of staff who no longer worked at the shop.
Committee chairman Ken Keegan said smuggled alcohol was found on the premises and illicit tobacco had been sold.
He said the shop had been trading irresponsibly.