Police visit Normanton shop over litter concerns - and end up finding thousands of counterfeit cigarettes

Almost 4,000 illicit cigarettes were found at an off-licence by police, who had originally visited the shop to express concerns about litter.

Monday, 2nd March 2020, 2:52 pm
Updated Monday, 2nd March 2020, 3:46 pm

Polski Slep, in Normanton, could lose its alcohol licence over the discovery.

West Yorkshire Police said it recently visited the premises to talk to staff about the amount of rubbish originating from the store, including cans and bottles.

But officers started a search after observing the behaviour of customers coming in and out of the premises, located on High Street in the town, and subsequently found counterfeit tobacco behind the shop's counter.

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File photo.

A licensing hearing will take place next Tuesday to determine whether or not Polski Slep's licence holder, Patrycta Sawica, can continue to sell alcohol.

In papers released ahead of the hearing, West Yorkshire Police said: "Whilst police officers were in the premises talking with the shop assistant, an elderly customer walked in and asked the shop assistant for a pack of cigarettes.

"The assistant refused, stating the shop doesn't sell cigarettes.

"A short time later another customer entered the shop, walked round before picking up an item, then (put it) back down. Then as she walked past the shop assistant she paused as though she wanted to speak to the assistant.

"At this point, the shop assistant was asked to move away from the counter and the area was searched, located behind the counter was various amounts of foreign label and illicit counterfeit cigarettes.

"These were seized by officers present.

"Following the search 3,860 cigarettes were seized along with four 50 gram Amber Leaf tobacco pouches, four 30 gram Chesterfield tobacco pouches and four 30 gram L&D tobacco pouches."

The police did not say on what date the visit took place.

Wakefield Council said it supported the police in asking for a review of the licence.

In his submissions ahead of next week's hearing, licensing officer Paul Dean said: "It is of great concern that the named licence holder Mrs Patrycta Sawica has shown a complete failure to promote the four licensing objectives - most notably her failure to promote the prevention of crime and disorder objective, through the criminal activities found being conducting, now shows she is not fit and proper to hold any premises licence."

Local Democracy Reporting Service