A rat infested Doncaster shop has been reprimanded after they were found selling illegal cigarettes from a Tesco carrier bag.
Councillors moved to revoke the premises licence of Hassan Mahmood who owns the Bargain Beers store on Balby Road, Balby, for ‘failing to comply with public safety and the prevention of crime and disorder’.
Trading Standards officer Greg Bristol said the premises was the ‘worst run store he’s ever dealt with’ in his time dealing with alcohol and tobacco enforcement.
But Mahmood didn’t turn up to the hearing and told licensing officers at Doncaster Council ‘there was no point’ in attending.
Committee chair Coun Ken Keegan decided to proceed with the meeting in Mahmood’s absence.
The licensing sub-committee was told Trading Standards officers had a surveillance order granted by Doncaster Magistrates’ Court and the shop failed two test purchases.
The hearing heard illicit cigarettes were passed to the test purchasers from a ‘Tesco carrier bag’ under the counter and from the back of the shop in September.
Mr Bristol describing the test purchase video evidence already seen by councillors, said the shop’s manager Shabaz Ismael stood behind and witnessed the cashier, known only as ‘Rebaz,’ sell the illegal cigarettes.
Ismael on interview admitted he had ‘turned a ‘blind eye’ to the sale while Mahmood denied any knowledge of such practices.
Mr Bristol told councillors he hardly saw Mahmood and said he ‘does not seem to have any control’ of what goes on inside the shop.
During the investigation, foreign beer smuggled from outside of the UK was found in store and no invoices could be supplied.
Over 70 packets of illicit cigarettes were seized from the investigation.
Environmental Health officer Tim Simpson said the store was also on the council’s radar due to complaints about piles of waste at the back of the store.
He said over a five month involvement asking the store to clear up the mess their ‘worst fears were confirmed’ after discovering a ‘vermin infestation’.
Addressing councillors, Mr Bristol said: “The person who is selling these illegal cigarettes is not known to the premises licence holder and his status as to work is unclear as well.
“We have a business that is not complying with regulations and Mr Mahmood does not seem to have any control whatsoever over what happens in that premises.
“It’s one of the worst run businesses that I’ve had to deal with in Doncaster with all the different aspects. It may not be the most prolific in selling illicit tobacco but there are serious concerns about the effect on public nuisance and public safety.”
Coun Keegan said the committee decided to revoke the licence and agreed from the video evidence acquired by the test purchaser and the evidence from Trading Standards that the shop was selling illegal goods.