Two shops which were ordered to close after they were caught selling illegal tobacco products have been shut down for a second time.
As part of an ongoing effort to tackle illicit tobacco sales, North Tyneside Council was granted three-month Closure Orders by North Tyneside Magistrates against the New Store, on Nile Street, North Shields, and Euro Mini Market on Northumberland Terrace, Howdon.
The action follows the discovery of illicit cigarettes and hand-rolling tobacco within both premises late last year by Trading Standards and Northumbria Police.
New Store previously traded under the name Ali Baba and has a history of being involved in the supply of illicit tobacco products. Despite reopening in September after a previous Closure Order, which mandated a total shutdown for six months, the shop once again fell under legal scrutiny. Euro Mini Market only re-opened in November after a previous six month Closure Order.
Since February 2023, North Tyneside Council has secured 10 Closure Orders against shops implicated in the supply of illicit tobacco products, each requiring a three-month closure. Remarkably, four of these orders were extended for an additional three months.
Councillor Carole Burdis, Cabinet Member for Crime and Community Safety, said: "One in two long-term smokers will die from smoking, whether they consume legal or illegal tobacco. The supply of illegal tobacco is not a victimless crime; it undermines efforts to encourage people to quit smoking and has direct links to organised crime gangs, using proceeds to fund other criminal activities. It is disappointing that these shops have continued to be used for the supply of illicit cigarettes, but this action demonstrates our commitment to tackle such activity head-on."
To help the ongoing fight against illegal tobacco, the public is encouraged to report any information to the Illegal Tobacco Hotline at 0300 999 0000 or online at https://keep-it-out.co.uk/anonymous-reporting/.
Residents of North Tyneside seeking support to quit smoking can access free assistance. For information on local stop-smoking support, please call 0191 643 7171 (phone lines open Monday-Friday, 9 am-5 pm) or email firstname.lastname@example.org.