COUNCIL officials checking a shop which had applied to regain its licence were approached by a customer wanting to buy illegal cigarettes.
The man did not speak English so the RMBC staff were unable to question him further — but they concluded it was very likely the premises were associated with the sale of fake cigs.
A report to licensing members said no evidence of illicit tobacco or cigarettes was found during the visit in February.
But it added: “Licensing officers consider that the actions of the customer indicate that it is very likely that the premises are associated with the sale of illicit tobacco and cigarettes.”
Despite the concern, the Ave Ferham Supermarket at Ferham had its licence granted — two years after it was stripped when illegal tobacco was seized four times in two months.
A Rotherham Council meeting to hear the licence application had been set for last Tuesday (30) but was cancelled when shop owner Amanj Jawad accepted extra restrictions.
The shop failed test purchases twice in 2020 — selling alcohol to girls aged 16 and 17 in January and August respectively.
Mr Jawad bought the store from Halo Omid last year but denied having involvement at the times of these errors.
The new owner pledged extra CCTV, an incident log, roller shutters and training on the Challenge 25 policy for staff, who would also be asked to watch the area outside for proxy purchasing.
RMBC maintained that Mr Jawad had “significant involvement” in the day-to-day running of Ave Ferham since at least September 2019. The period of time since had seen “a number of incidents involving the premises that undermine the licensing objectives”, the report said.
RMBC licensing manager Alan Pogorzelec’s original report urged sub-committee members to refuse the shop’s application. He said: “Given the previous history of the premises during a time that I believe he was the shop manager, I do not have confidence in Mr Jawad’s ability to manage the premises to a standard that would adequately promote the licensing objectives.”
But after the hearing was pulled last week, RMBC said additional conditions had been agreed, including a reduction in the opening hours.
As a result of these changes, the council withdrew its representations and the licence was issued.
Additional conditions include no sale of beer, lager or cider in singles or over six per cent in strength; having a personal licence holder or named responsible person present whenever alcohol is sold; and closing at 11pm rather than midnight.