Northampton supermarket allegedly linked to organised crime takes council to court

Europe Supermarket Ltd has taken Northampton Borough Council to court.
Europe Supermarket Ltd has taken Northampton Borough Council to court.

The directors of a Wellingborough Road supermarket allegedly linked to organised crime is taking Northampton Borough Council to court over a ruling to strip it of its license.

In May this year, Europe Supermarket had its premises licence revoked by councillors in a behind-closed-doors hearing.

The supermarket had its licence revoked in May following evidence by Northamptonshire Police.

The supermarket had its licence revoked in May following evidence by Northamptonshire Police.

It came after Northamptonshire Police reportedly linked the store to an illicit tobacco operation that led to them seizing over 2.4m illegal cigarettes and thousands of pounds in cash.

But now, Europe Supermarkets Ltd is taking the council to court over the decision to take away their licence.

The company's directors claim the council put "undue reliance on unproven facts provided by the police," and gave "insufficient weight" to their own evidence.

At a hearing at Northampton Magistrate's Court heard yesterday (October 8), the court heard a summary of Northamptonshire Police's evidence.

It included a visit to Europe Supermarket when officers found a van containing 23,980 illicit cigarettes and 2.4kg of tobacco that bore the store's logo.

In the course of their investigation, officers seized over 2.4m illicit cigarettes and more than £770,000 in cash.

They also found £119,000 in carrier bags under the supermarket's counter.

A legal representative from Northampton Borough Council, Mr Clive Tobin, said: "The committee ruled that these premises are involved in the storage and distribution of illicit tobacco. This premises licence was revoked.

Europe Supermarkets Ltd did not attend the hearing and set out their claim in a letter to the magistrates.

Mr Tobin told the court: "The argument raised by the appellant [Europ Supermarkets] is that the £119,000 found under the counter in carrier bags were not the proceeds of crime but a way of avoiding bank charges but saving it up at the premises."

The case was adjourned to January 28, 2020, to return to Northampton Magistrate's Court.