A MAGISTRATE has upheld Chorley Council’s decision to remove the premises licence from a corner shop in Chorley.

Earlier this year the authority revoked the licence for Bunty’s Off Licence, on Weldbank Lane, after dozens of illicit tobacco products were found at the shop.

The premises licence holder Ramesh Varsani, 53, of Moor Road, Chorley, appealed the decision but it was thrown out by the magistrate who awarded £1,252 worth of costs to the council.

Cllr Paul Walmsley, who is responsible for public protection at Chorley Council, said: “I hope this sends out a strong message that irresponsible licence holders who seek to operate outside of the law are not welcome in Chorley.

“This was a great team effort between ourselves, the county council and the police, and we’re pleased the magistrates upheld our decision to revoke the licence.

“If anyone suspects a business is selling illegal or counterfeit goods then they should report it to the authorities and we will take action.”

The decision to revoke the licence was taken in July after 78 packs of cigarettes, which were either counterfeit or not for sale in the UK, were found at the premises.

There were also a number of tobacco order lists suggesting a substantial sale of similar illegal tobacco products worth thousands of pounds.

“The cigarettes had no duty paid on them and did not contain health warnings on the packaging so not only was the shop selling illegal goods there was no tax paid on them so this was done deliberately for commercial gain,” said Councillor Walmsley.

“Not only that, there was food three weeks beyond the use by date for sale in the shop that suggested poor management of the premises and in defending the appeal we felt Mr Varsani had not been frank throughout.”

The appeal decision was upheld in a hearing at Chorley Magistrates’ Court on Friday 14 December.