Shop stripped of alcohol licence – weeks after illegal tobacco sentence

The Iki grocery store in Franciscan Way, Ipswich. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS

The Iki grocery store in Franciscan Way, Ipswich. Picture: GOOGLE MAPS - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich convenience store’s licence to sell alcohol has been revoked – just weeks after its manager was handed a suspended prison sentence for dealing in illegal tobacco.

Ipswich Borough Council’s licensing and regulatory sub-committee met at Grafton House on Monday to review the premises licence for Iki grocery store, in Franciscan Way.

In December, shopkeeper Hedi Ibrahim was sentenced at Ipswich Crown Court for selling more than £100,000 worth of hand rolling tobacco and cigarettes under the counter over a period of about five months of 2016.

The 32-year-old, of Franciscan Way, admitted participating in a fraudulent business, possessing goods with a false trademark, supplying a tobacco product not containing a health warning and offering to supply a dangerous product.

Judge David Goodin sentenced him to a two-year prison sentence, suspended for two years, and ordered him to do 240 hours of unpaid work in the community.

A confiscation hearing under the Proceeds of Crime Act was due to have taken place last month but was adjourned until May 10 to allow further work on the case to be carried out.

In the meantime, Iki grocery store’s licence to sell alcohol has been stripped by the borough council, following a meeting convened in accordance with the Licensing Act 2003 (Hearings) Regulations 2005.

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A borough council spokesman said: “The review application has now been determined and the sub-committee’s decision was to revoke the premises licence for alcohol.

“The applicant now has a period of 21 days to appeal.”

Ibrahim was not at the store when Suffolk Trading Standards arrived on December 12, 2016, but later contacted the officers.

Ipswich Crown Court heard how he received a warning letter the previous July.

Through a defence solicitor, he claimed to have only been selling the illicit tobacco for six to seven weeks, and that his profit had only been £35,000.

The court heard Ibrahim had lived in the UK for 15 years and was extremely remorseful for committing the offences. His dream had been to own his own business after working for many years for other people.

Retailers do not require a licence to sell tobacco in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

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