REVOKED: Doncaster shop owner sold fake cigarettes because '˜he didn't know how to pay the rent'
A Doncaster shop owner who acquired fake cigarettes to sell told councillors he did it because '˜he didn't know how to pay the rent'.
Arjumand Hussain, owner of Simply the Best on Warmsworth Road, Balby, said '˜Polish and Russian people'' would come round often selling counterfeit and smuggled tobacco on a regular basis and was even offered some the day before his hearing.
Councillors on the sub-licensing committee heard Trading Standards officers visited the store on August 29, after receiving a complaint that illicit tobacco products were being sold.
Trading Standards officer Greg Bristol said a quantity of counterfeit and smuggled European cigarettes were seized which had packaging which '˜did not comply with regulations'.
Mr Bristol said illicit cigarettes are '˜not made to the correct standards' and often '˜do not have the ability to '˜self-extinguish' and have been implicated in house fires.
When questioned by councillors on why he had the cigarettes, Mr Hussain said: ''The shop is too small and the rent is too high - I didn't have anything I didn't know how to pay the rent and gain any money from there.
'I got them (the cigarettes) from Polish people - I speak six or seven languages.
'I told Trading Standards the Polish, Russians, come round and even yesterday they wanted to come and sell some cigarettes and I said no.
'The main reason I sold the cigarettes is because I could not sell alcohol and did not know how to pay the rent.'
Trading Standards officers also discovered a crate of 9% Polish lager - well above the licensing condition limit of 6.5%.
But Mr Hussain said it '˜belonged to a friend' and thought it was okay '˜because it was an off-licence.
The shop owner told councillors he voluntarily removed the beer after Trading Standards officer questioned him about.
Mr Hussain said he was in the process of obtaining one a alcohol licence and had been on a council-run course.
But the committee agreed with officers and believed the shop owner was selling high strength booze.
'I haven't had a premises licence,' he said.
'I didn't know anything about it I didn't have any idea about what a premises licence is.
'I asked the previous owner and he didn't tell me anything - he just sold the place to me.'
Doncaster Council solicitor Helen Wilson, on behalf of licensing sub-committee chair Coun Ken Keegan, said: 'The committee was most concerned the premises licence holder when he purchased the business had very little understanding of the concept of a personal premises licence.
'The committee are concerned the premises has been trading irresponsibly and cannot be promoting the licensing objectives.'