Wolverhampton shop facing licence review over illegal tobacco and Viagra-like pills

A convenience store caught in possession of illegal cigarettes, tobacco and Viagra-like drugs on several occasions is to undergo a review of its premises licence.

Salvo's Convenience Store on Parkfield Road, Ettingshall, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View.
Salvo's Convenience Store on Parkfield Road, Ettingshall, Wolverhampton. Photo: Google Street View.

Trading Standards bosses in Wolverhampton have called for a of review in respect of Salvo’s Convenience in Parkfield Road, Ettingshall, following a number of raids.

The city’s licensing bosses are set to discuss the review next week after the shop was found to be selling suspected counterfeit tobacco as well as erectile dysfunction medication despite not being a pharmacy.

In written correspondence submitted to the council’s statutory licensing sub-committee, Dianne Slack, tobacco control officer for Wolverhampton Council’s Trading Standards Service, said: “On February 25, 2020, following the receipt of information, Trading Standards Service organised a covert test purchase of illicit tobacco from the premises known as Salvo’s Convenience.

“A packet of 20 Richmond cigarettes were sold to the purchaser for £4, believed to be counterfeit. A statement has been provided.

“On March 5, 2020, officers from the Trading Standards Service, West Midlands Police and a tobacco detection dog and his handler, visited Salvo’s Convenience, accompanied by police officers.

“The cigarette gantry was open exposing tobacco products for sale, contrary to the Tobacco Advertising and Promotion Regulations 2010.

“Mr Angelo Salvo, the owner of the business, premises licence holder and designated premises supervisor subsequently turned up during the inspection.

“Illegal tobacco products were discovered in the shop premises including suspected counterfeit Richmond cigarettes, duty free LIFA menthol cigarettes and cheap white Richman cigarettes which are foreign brands brought into the UK illegally specifically to be sold on the black market,” she added.

“English branded hand-rolling tobacco products such as Golden Virginia, that bore foreign warnings were seized because they breached UK regulations on packaging and/or labelling and were non UK duty paid.

“Seven Cildamax Sildenafil Citrate 100mg tablets, a pharmacy controlled drug used to treat erectile dysfunction were discovered behind the counter.

“In a van outside the shop, belonging to the manager, a further 1,160 packets of ‘duty free only’ marked LIFA menthol cigarettes and 329 Cildamax Sildenafil Citrate 100mg tablets were discovered.

“Pharmacy medicines such as Sildenafil Citrate may only be legally sold or supplied to the public through registered pharmacy premises, by or under the authorisation of a pharmacist. Salvo’s Convenience has not been given authorisation to sell such medicines.

“Angelo and the manager were both advised during the inspection that it was a criminal offence to possess, supply or sell counterfeit products or illicit tobacco products,” said Ms Slack.

“On February 20, 2015, a formal written warning was issued to Salvo’s Convenience in respect of a previous seizure of illicit tobacco products that were found on the premises.”

A previous raid on September 11, 2014, found 454 cigarette sticks identified as cheap foreign whites (Fest Red and Fest Blue), 600g of foreign-labelled Golden Virginia and Amber Leaf hand-rolling tobacco, and a discarded 200-cigarette sleeve for Presidents, also identified as cheap foreign whites.

In a letter to Wolverhampton Council’s senior licensing and compliance officer, the city council’s health improvement officer Amy Baker said: “Public Health have very serious concerns regarding the significant amount of illicit tobacco and cigarettes seized on March 5, in addition to the controlled drug Sildenafil Citrate.

“With the confirmed test purchase, the seized tobacco/cigarettes and pharmacy controlled drug, Public Health is not reassured that the business is operating in adherence to the Licensing Act and therefore supports Trading Standards request to review the current licence.”

Wolverhampton Council’s statutory licensing sub-committee will discuss the review on September 29.

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