Bristol shops closed for three months following crackdown on illegal tobacco sales

The shops are within yards of each other

<p>Illegal tobacco seized by Bristol trading standards at International Zabka and Ezee Shop in September 2021</p>

Illegal tobacco seized by Bristol trading standards at International Zabka and Ezee Shop in September 2021

Two shops in Bristol have been closed for three months over sale of illegal tobacco following an order by magistrates.

And city councillors will decide at a hearing on Thursday (October 28), whether to revoke the premises licence of one of the stores, which are within yards of each other in East Street, Bedminster.

Both shops – International Zabka and Ezee Shop – remain shut following a “first of its kind” investigation by Bristol trading standards.

Officials served closure notices on the premises on September 28 ahead of a court application to extend this to three months.

Agenda papers to licensing sub-committee members reveal that this request was granted by city magistrates on Friday, October 15.

The report says this automatically triggers a premises licence review, which will take place on October 28 for International Zabka following representations from Avon & Somerset Police and trading standards.

It can be contested by the premises licence holder Salar Hama Haji who is also the designated premises supervisor.

Magistrates can also extend the current closure order to six months.

It was the first time the city’s trading standards officers had shut a shop because of the sale of illegal cigarettes and followed an extensive investigation.

Bristol City Council says the trade in cheap, illegal tobacco has had links to organised crime and carries potentially dangerous health implications because the products regularly contain higher levels of toxins and are packaged without the correct health warnings.