Shop in Northampton hid 10,000 illegal cigarettes in nearby car

The alcohol licence of UK Monopol is to be reviewed
The alcohol licence of UK Monopol is to be reviewed

Police uncovered a huge haul of illicit cigarettes after spotting a shopworker acting suspiciously near a car.

The officers were about to carry out an inspection of UK Monopol in St Leonard's Road, Far Cotton, along with Trading Standards officers, when they saw the man opening the boot of the vehicle in an alley behind the row of shops.

He seemed to be co-operating with officers before suddenly making off down the road and escaping.

Shortly afterwards, the police officers opened the boot and found 10,360 foreign label cigarettes and 12 packets of hand rolling tobacco.

In a statement about the inspection - which happened on December 4 last year - for a forthcoming licencing hearing at the Guildhall, PC Chris Stevens said: "As he saw officers approaching him, he quickly close the boot and locked the vehicle.

"When asked to provide the key, he stated it was in the shop, however he eventually produced it..

"As he was being walked to the police vehicle, he ran off down the road and was lost from sight."

After the team returned to the car, they found the hidden stash. Inside the shop the remaining worker confirmed the man who ran off was working at the premises, but said he didn't know what happened.

The team decided to return to UK Monopol two weeks later and the licence holder, Mr Kalend was present.

He admitted that he had illicit tobacco on the premises and showed them packets underneath the counter, in a box near the back door and the toilet room.

This time, 12,820 cigarettes and 24 packets of tobacco were found, which officers either suspected were illegal or had no English-language health warnings as required by law.

PC Stevens said: "The Police and Trading Standards believe that this course of conduct despite warnings and formal notices show a flagrant disregard for the law and undermines the Prevention of Crime and Disorder objective.

"The fact that previous warnings have been issued and ignored demonstrates a stepped approach to enforcement and feel that the a revocation of the premises licence is a proportionate and necessary step to take."

Northampton Borough Councillors will hear more evidence and decide what action to take at a licensing meeting on February 14.