A Northampton supermarket suspected by police of a connection with organised crime has had its licence revoked – but two other premises it alleges were set up with the proceeds have avoided a similar outcome.
Europe Supermarket, on Wellingborough Road, had its premises licence revoked by councillors during a behind-closed-doors hearing at The Guildhall on Thursday morning (May 30).
Councillors were given details of the store’s alleged links to organised crime in private papers, redacted versions of which are in the public domain.
In those papers, PC Chris Stevens of Northamptonshire Police said that the force “believe that Europe Supermarket is a base for organised crime and is heavily linked to the sale and storage of illicit tobacco”.
He wrote: “Over the course of a two-year period, HMRC have conducted disruption work against this organised crime group and this has led to sizable cash and tobacco seizures from various places around the UK, including in Northampton.
“One of the most significant of these seizures took place on 14th August 2018, when officers from HMRC visited this premises to conduct an inspection visit. During this visit, a van connected to the premises was forcibly entered and searched, which resulted in the seizure of 23,980 cigarettes and 2.4kg of tobacco from the rear of the vehicle, in amongst boxes that bore the Europe Supermarket branding.”
His written evidence goes on to state that a later visit to the premises on August 22nd found cash in carrier bags and a small safe.
He adds: “The nature and scale of the offences suspected of being committed in this case lead the police to the conclusion that the premises licence for Europe Supermarket should be revoked.”
And the three person panel of Northampton Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee agreed, and revoked the licence.
However two other stores that police also called to be reviewed appear to have kept their licences.
Police had asked for Aryan Coffee, on Lutterworth Road, and a second Europe Supermarket store on Abington Street to also be revoked.
In his written evidence, PC Stevens said: “On the balance of probability, the criminal earnings of this organised crime group have been used to set up and run the business of Europe Supermarket on Abington Street.
“Further, there are reasonable grounds to believe that the accounts of this premises are being used to launder this money in such a way as to make it appear legitimate.”
As the meeting was held privately, with members of the public and press excluded, the summary of these decisions is not yet in the public domain. It is also not known if any new conditions were added to the current licences at the two stores.
But a Northampton Borough Council spokesman told the Local Democracy Reporting Service: “We can confirm that the licence was revoked at the Euro Supermarket at 340- 344 Wellingborough Road.
“The other two licences – Aryan Coffee and Euro Supermarket at 102A Abington Street – were neither suspended or revoked.”