The Landlord of shop premises which he owns in the High Street, Lincoln has recently been prosecuted at Lincoln Crown Court for allowing his premises to be used by criminals to sell illicit tobacco products.
The Circumstances | Kangs Trading Standards Advisory Team
- The business, called European Foods, has a long history of criminal activity and Trading Standards had repeatedly warned the Landlord of the illegal activity being conducted at the premises.
- These warnings were ignored and the illicit business was allowed to continue trading.
- The Landlord did not sell any illicit cigarettes himself, but they were on offer under the counter at the store. There existed a false floor behind the counter and a sophisticated mechanism which enabled a large metal box containing contraband to be raised from the cellar below.
The Hearing | Kangs Regulatory Team
- The Landlord pleaded guilty and received an eight months suspended prison sentence and one hundred and fifty hours unpaid work.
- Additionally, he now faces proceedings under the Proceeds of Crime Act (2002) with the prospect of having to forfeit up to sixty thousand pounds in respect of rent received during the period of illicit trading.
Official Comment | Kangs Regulatory Advisory Team
Mr Andrew Wright, Principal Trading Standards officer at Lincolnshire County Council, stated:
“This is the first prosecution of its type in the country. I am pleased that this has now provided a model for an enforcement strategy, not only in Lincolnshire, but across the East Midlands region.
“For many years Trading Standards have been taking prosecutions against those running businesses with limited success. As in this case, there always appears to be someone willing to take over the lease with little change in the type of goods sold. I envisage prosecution of the primary offender will continue; however, detailed information will also be sent to the owner of the building who receives rent from those tenants. I hope that by working together with landlords we can make a lasting difference.”
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