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Corner shop ordered to close after tobacco investigation

Published December 09, 2022 10.35am

A County Durham shop has been ordered to close after suspected illegal tobacco was found on the premises.

Our trading standards team has secured a three-month closure order for Shildon Mini Market, on Church Street, from Newton Aycliffe Magistrates Court.

Magistrates heard that one of our officers visited the premises after receiving community intelligence that the shop was suspected to be supplying illegal tobacco.

Anyone who believes they may have information on the sale of illicit tobacco can report it anonymously through Keep it out online or by calling 0300 999 0000

Search of premises

An employee at the shop informed the officer that the business did not sell tobacco products, however a search of the premises found a bag containing several packets of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco.

The items did not comply with the standardised packaging legal requirements. The employee said the items were not being sold in the shop and were for personal use.

Test purchases

A test purchase was made at the shop a few days later, in which the employee sold the purchaser two packs of cigarettes which, upon inspection, also did not comply with the legislation relating to standardised packaging.

A second test purchase was carried out, and a different employee sold the purchaser two packs of cigarettes which also failed to comply with standardised packaging. 


Owen Cleugh, our public protection manager, said: "The sale of illegal tobacco can have a devastating effect on our communities. Not only does it have a serious impact on health, it also brings crime and nuisance to neighbourhoods, makes it easier for children to get hold of cheap tobacco, and undermines the efforts of stop smoking services.

"We are continuing to investigate this case and will take further action if necessary."

Advice on how to get help to quit smoking is available through Stop Smoking County Durham or by calling 0800 772 0565. 

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