Shop issued with three-month Closure Order

Published Wednesday, 15th December 2021

A Hartlepool shop found to be routinely selling counterfeit tobacco has been ordered to close for three months by magistrates.

Hartlepool Borough Council Trading Standards applied to Teesside Magistrates for a Closure Order in relation to The International Food Store based at 45 Murray Street.

The order, the maximum that could be made by the Court, was granted at hearing on Wednesday (December 15th).

The Council had previously been granted a temporary Closure Order pending a full hearing.

The Court heard that a number of test purchases had been made at the premises and, on two occasions, sniffer dogs had found illicit tobacco on site.

Neil Harrison, Senior Trading Standards Officer for Hartlepool Borough Council, said: "The sale of illicit tobacco products is a crime and not a victimless one. Not only is it linked to organised crime, but it also counteracts the work of health services and local authorities in their efforts to reduce smoking prevalence.

“The low price and easy accessibility of these products discourages existing smokers from quitting and encourages non-smokers such as children to try it. This can obviously lead to addiction and the associated serious health problems. Legitimate retailers who comply with the law and sell legal products, also lose out to this unfair competition.

“I'm pleased that the magistrates have agreed to impose the maximum three-month closure available to them. We must reduce the harm caused by the sale of illegal tobacco and I would urge members of the public to continue reporting such activity so that we can take the necessary action.”

Reports can be made to Trading Standards by calling (01429) 523362 or by e-mail at