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'Shambolic' shop stripped of licence after Viagra-like pills and baseball bat found

By Gurdip Thandi | Birmingham | Crime | Published:

A “shambolic” store where hundreds of Viagra-like pills and illicit tobacco were seized has had its licence revoked.

Some of the Viagra-like Sildamax tablets seized from Selly Acre News in Stirchley

About 300 Sildamax pills, 600 illegal cigarettes along with a baseball bat and golf club were discovered behind the counter of Selly Acre News in Stirchley by Birmingham Trading Standards officers.

On a follow-up visit, police found a smaller number of pills still in the shop as well as a baseball bat and golf club within easy reach of staff behind the till.

These discoveries, along with other concerns such as the poor running of the shop and inadequate CCTV, prompted Trading Standards to call for a review of the premises licence.

And, at a Birmingham City Council licensing hearing on Monday, committee members stripped the store of its licence.

Trading Standards swooped on the shop in August last year, following a tip-off, and discovered one sleeve of Richmond cigarettes, one sleeve of Regal, one sleeve of the Russian brand Plect and three packets of Benson And Hedges hand rolling tobacco in a plastic bag behind the counter.

They also found 300 Sildamax pills, a Viagra-like substance, in blisters and not in its outer packaging which carry warnings and dosage advice.

When they quizzed Zakhar Hussain, brother of premises licence holder Changez Hussain, he said the cigarettes were for personal use and the Sildamax was “for a mate”.

Paul Ellson, of Birmingham Trading Standards, said: “If that was the case then clearly they should not have been on the premises.”

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West Midlands Police carried out a follow-up visit on September 25 and found a number of Sildamax tablets and £72 in a cigar tin under the counter.

They also found a baseball bat and golf club. Staff said the items were for sale but Pc Abdool Rohomon, licensing officer at West Midlands Police, said only the golf club carried a price tag.

He also said that CCTV only kept 20 days’ worth of footage – 11 days less than the licensing conditions require. They had been separated into individual pills.

Pc Rohomon said: “We found an old cigar tin with the same blue pills that Trading Standards found 30 days before.

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“Also in that tin was £72 in cash. I don’t believe for one minute that they weren’t being sold.

“We also found a baseball bat and golf club that were in easy reach of staff. We weren’t happy they were legitimate items for sale so we seized them.”

“The shop was in a state of chaos. If I’d been caught once, I would make sure it did not happen again. But they could not be bothered.

“The management of the premises is not just hands off, it is not there at all. It is a shambolic running of a licensed premises.”

Patrick Burke, representing Mr Hussain, said the tablets found by the police on the second visit had been overlooked by accident following the first incident and he added the £72 came from customer tips.

He said Mr Hussain had offered to increase training for himself and added the business support both his and brother’s families.

Mr Hussain said: “I understand it is my management that is the problem and I’m going to change my ways.”

But the committee upheld the concerns of Trading Standards and police and revoked the licence.

Gurdip Thandi

By Gurdip Thandi
@Gurdo

Local Democracy Reporter covering Walsall.

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