Illegal workers at Rotherham shop caught selling bootleg cigarettes and vapes

A shop caught selling illegal cigarettes and vapes faces having its license revoked next week.

Trading Standards hopes to have the licence of Aro Mini Market on Fitzwilliam Road revoked, after discovering ‘a significant supply of illegal tobacco and e-cigarette products at the premises’.

Rotherham Metropolitan Borough Council’s (RMBC) trading standards officers obtained a warrant to visit the shop on February 21 2023, after test purchasers were sold counterfeit cigarettes.

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They found illegal cigarettes and tobacco ‘concealed in a toolbox’ behind the counter, and illegal vapes on display.

The shopThe shop
The shop

They also found that the shop ‘had been left under the control of persons who had no legal right to work in the UK’.

Officers seized 3,569 sticks of illegal cigarettes, 43 packets of tobacco and two vapes.

Trading Standards and South Yorkshire Police officers visited the shop again on September 7, and found another member of staff who ‘should not be working in the UK’.

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The officers searched the premises and seized 229 illicit vapes, 1,700 sticks of illegal cigarettes and 16 packets of rolling tobacco concealed in a black holdall and a shopping bag behind the counter.

In an email, the license holder of the shop said he had been outside of the UK due to a family emergency, and alleged that the people he left in control of his shop had used it for “personal interest and illegal things”.

A licensing officer from RMBC was sold alcohol on a visit to the shop in October, which was deemed ‘unlawful’ as the shop’s CCTV was not working.

A report by licensing officers states that the license holder “has demonstrated a complete lack of management control at the shop and, despite having received appropriate advise, has continued to breach the terms, conditions and restriction of the licence”.

The council officer recommends that the licence be revoked at the next licensing board meeting on December 18.