Smethwick supermarket's bid to sell alcohol again fails after court dismisses licence appeal

A Smethwick supermarket remains unable to sell alcohol after an appeal against the decision to revoke its licence was rejected.

Top Tak lost its alcohol licence last July
Top Tak lost its alcohol licence last July

The appeal by Azar Ebrahimi, premises licence holder at Top Tak, in Cape Hill, was heard at Dudley Magistrates' Court , six months after a Sandwell Council licensing sub-committee made the decision following the discovery of £6,000 worth of illicit alcohol and tobacco on sale at the shop.

Mrs Ebrahimi appealed the decision, claiming councillors "did not take in account properly the explanation as to the wine, cigarettes and tobacco which were recovered in the shop and did not take into account properly the evidence in support of submission".

However, magistrates dismissed her appeal, and ordered her to pay £900 costs to Sandwell Council.

Sandwell Council reviewed the licence renewal application in July 2022 after an application was made by Trading Standards.

The licensing sub-committee heard that an inspection was carried out in August 2021 on the grounds of suspicious activity related to counterfeit wines.

Officers discovered five bottles of counterfeit Yellow Tail wine on sale among regular stock, but also found 31 pouches of counterfeit hand-rolling tobacco. They also discovered five pouches of non-duty paid hand tobacco.

Out of 7,160 cigarettes found at the shop, 2,460 of those - around 34 per cent - were discovered to be counterfeit, with the majority hidden underneath the counter and on sale in the tobacco gantry behind the counter.

The sub-committee heard during the inspection numerous customers came into the store “asking for cheap cigarettes or tobacco”. They were turned away by a member of staff.

Sandwell Council said the tobacco was illegally packaged in terms of packet colouring and absence of official health warnings.

The total value of stock seized was £6,066.

Mrs Ebrahimi, who was contacted for comment, was given three weeks to appeal the decision to the crown court.

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