8 February 2017

A shop which was discovered to be selling illicit cigarettes and cigarettes to children has had its alcohol licence revoked by Sheffield City Council.

Sta’s, in Main Road, Darnall, is therefore no longer licenced to sell alcohol. This will be a major loss in income for the shop and potentially affect any premises letting and sale value.

Members of the licensing sub-committee yesterday (Tuesday 7 February) heard from the current licence holder and Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS), Nadiya Chzhen, who explained that she had not been fulfilling her responsibilities as DPS since the business changed hands in 2015.

She said that she had not informed the council’s licensing service of her change in position, and nor had the new business operator applied for the premises licence to be transferred.

The shop had therefore been operating for a considerable period when there was no effective control over alcohol sales, and adequate controls were not in place to guard against sales of alcohol to children.

This licence review follows an investigation by Sheffield City Council’s trading standards specialist illicit tobacco team. Trading Standards’ evidence at the hearing related to the storage and supply of illicit tobacco products at Sta’s going back at least five years, under allegedly different owners.

The review application was supported by the city council’s Safeguarding Children Service and South Yorkshire Police, who provided evidence of sales of tobacco to children and lack of measures to protect children from harm.

Bryan Lodge, cabinet member for the environment at Sheffield City Council, said: “Our Trading Standards team work hard to keep people in Sheffield safe from harm, and cracking down on shops that serve tobacco to children is an important part of this.

“We hope that this decision will send a strong message to other business owners who think that they can get away with selling illicit cigarettes, or serving tobacco to children. We can and will take action, and you could lose your alcohol licence.

“I would also encourage members of the public who have concerns about shops operating outside of the law to call trading standards via the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 040506.”

The loss of tax revenue from smuggled cigarettes and tobacco costs the UK economy between £2bn and £3bn each year. This is money that otherwise could be spent on public services.

Counterfeit cigarettes also have none of the quality control measures put in place by the manufacturers of the genuine product and are likely to be far more dangerous to health. As such products don’t have duty paid on them, they can also be sold at dramatically lower prices, making them more affordable to children.