Illegal tobacco seized from the convenience store.
A Moston convenience store has been banned from selling alcohol after Council officers uncovered illegal tobacco, as well as a string of licensing breaches taking place on site.
Earlier this year in February Manchester City Council’s Trading Standards Team received intelligence that Lightbowne Convenience Store, also known as Abdul’s, was selling tobacco to underage children.
A 16-year-old volunteer was sent in to carry out a test purchase which resulted in them being sold a packet of Benson & Hedges cigarettes, with no request for ID. In spite of repeated attempts to engage with the owner and licence holder, the manager and their staff to educate them on the law around restricted sales there was no willingness by them to cooperate with the Council.
On May 19 this year the shop was visited again by the Council’s Licensing and Out of Hours Team and Greater Manchester Police, during a search of the premises illegal tobacco was found, intended for sale. Upon further investigation it was also found the business was breaching several conditions of its license. This included failure to maintain a refusals log, failure to train staff on the ‘Challenge 21’ policy, as well as there not being an adequate CCTV system in place.
Given the nature of the offences and the complete lack of cooperation from the owner and licence holder – Abdul Rehman, of Tansley Road, Crumpsall – with the Council, it was judged that the only action that could be taken was to apply to have the business’ licence revoked.
At a licensing review hearing held on July 13 this application was granted.
Due to the numerous breaches recorded at this business, it has been banned from selling alcohol indefinitely. Any future application would have to satisfy the Council’s licensing committee that future licensing objectives could be met.
Councillor Rabnawaz Akbar, executive member for neighbourhoods, said: “The Covid-19 pandemic has presented our enforcement teams with a deeply challenging set of circumstances, however as this enforcement action has shown, we are still committed to rooting out wrongdoing in our communities. The discovery of illegal tobacco at the premises led to our teams uncovering the owner was failing to meet even the most basic of licensing requirements we expected.
“It seems they were under the impression that the rules did not apply to them, an attitude which has no place in Manchester. We tried our best to engage with them but ultimately we were left with no choice other than to strip their licence. It is a vindication of the hard work put in by our enforcement officers and legal team that we were able to prevent them continuing to sell alcohol irresponsibly.”