A shop on Manchester Road has closed and boarded up after a series of seizures of illicit tobacco with a street value of over £100,000.
Faisal Food Store, located on 76 Manchester Road, was granted a Closure Order at Burnley Magistrates Court on 5th December 2019.
Chair of Pendle Community Safety Partnership, Councillor David Whipp said: “We’ve been working with Lancashire County Council’s Trading Standards team to close Faisal Food Store.
“This is not just a criminal case. We have concerns for public health and also fire safety because of the way these illegal cigarettes have been made.”
“EU rules limit the amount of tar and carbon monoxide produced by cigarettes. However, many parts of the world do not have legal limits.”
“Also, genuine cigarettes have fire controls in their paper covers so they should not continue burning for long if dropped in bed or on a sofa.”
“Counterfeit or illegal cigarettes do not have these controls, so will continue to burn.”
“Since many house fires are caused by cigarettes, these reduced ignition requirements are of vital importance to public safety.”
The two owners, including the limited company behind Faisal Food Store, has pleaded guilty to breaches relating to thousands of packs of illicit tobacco products seized between July 2018 and December 2019.
The offences also relate to incorrect packaging and health warnings on the products.
County Councillor Albert Atkinson, Cabinet Member for Technical Services, Rural Affairs and Waste Management, which includes Trading Standards, said: “Illicit tobacco has a negative impact on local communities.
“It makes it easier for children and young people to start smoking and harder for smokers to quit. Illegal traders also have a devastating impact on legitimate businesses in the area.”
Councillor Whipp added: “I would like to make it clear that the owner of the building – who is not the owner of the business – has had no involvement in the criminal activity.
“He is co-operating with Pendle Council and Lancashire County Council to make sure that when the business re-opens with a new owner, there will not be a repeat of this criminal activity.”
County Councillor Albert Atkinson from Trading Standards stressed: “Illegal tobacco sellers in Lancashire need to think twice.”
“We will use all the weapons in our armoury to make life harder for criminals to thrive on our high streets.”
“We frequently work with local councils like Pendle and with Lancashire Police to review licences, close illegal traders down and prosecute them.”