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Bristol clamps down on illegal tobacco

Bristol clamps down on illegal tobacco

Trading Standards target Bedminster businesses for closure.

28 September 2021

Bristol’s Trading Standards team have stepped up their fight against the sale of illegal tobacco in the city after two businesses in Bedminster were served with closure notices this morning (28 September).

The action, the first of its kind brought by officers working for the city council, means the two premises must be shut for an initial 48-hour period ahead of a court application on Thursday (30 September) that could see them closed for up to three months.

Supported by Avon & Somerset Police, council officers delivered the notices on the owners and traders of International Zabka and Ezee Shop, within yards of each other on East Street, this morning, using powers available to them under Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014.

It followed an extensive investigation into the sale of illegal tobacco at the shops, which were visited on a number of occasions over a period of weeks during which illicit products were bought there.

The trade in cheap, illegal tobacco has also had links to organised crime and also carries potentially dangerous health implications as such products also regularly contain higher levels of toxins and are packaged without the correct health warnings.

Thursday’s court hearing at Bristol Magistrates’ Court will now decide on the closure order which, if successful, could stay in place for up to three months with the possibility of an extension to six, and prevents the shops from operating.

Councillor Nicola Beech, the Cabinet member for Climate, Ecology, Waste and Energy, said:

“This action is unprecedented for Bristol and demonstrates our determination not to tolerate the sale of illegal tobacco products in our city and to pursue action against those that supply and sell them.

“The sale of these products shows little regard for the impact on the health of customers and the local community, with these products often containing higher rates of toxic substances without the necessary health warnings in place.

“Our Trading Standards team have done a superb job of monitoring and gathering the evidence leading to the issuing of the closure notices, ahead of the court application for closure orders later this week and we thank the police for their co-operation in the serving of these notices.

“We want to send a strong message to those dealing in the selling of these goods and to the community which is often impacted in a negative way by the distribution of these products.’’

Find more comprehensive information about illegal tobacco and the negative impact it has on society as well as how to report illegal sales.

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