A SHOP has lost its licence after being caught hiding foreign tobacco.

In total, 450g of hand-rolling tobacco and 2,940 cigarettes were seized at Ideal Mini Market in Farnworth.

The tobacco products, found with the help of a detection dog, was hidden in a concealment at the back of a cupboard at the Market Street off licence.

They were not in plain packaging and some had warnings which were not in English.

The Market Street shop had its premises licence revoked by councillors last week.

This means it can no longer sell alcohol, although it can still sell tobacco.

The council’s trading standards unit carried out the investigation and called for the licence to be reviewed.

Trading standards officer Peter Tomkies told the licensing sub-committee the premises was visited as a result of intelligence received regarding the supply of illicit tobacco.

A report said: “It would have been very apparent to someone in the business of selling tobacco that the products were not legal for sale.”

The licence for the shop, registered as A-Z Grocers and Off Licence, was held by H & P Market Ltd in Prescott Street.

When officers visited the premises earlier this year, they were told by a member of staff that the business now has a new owner.

The new owner said that Mr Ali and Mr Fatehy who previously owned the company no longer had any interest in the business.

He also confirmed that the store does not sell alcohol now which was confirmed when officers visited the site again on February 19.

The company's head office, which is the registered address of SND Accountants and Business Consultants, was invited to the hearing last week but nobody from the firm attended.

The licensing sub-committee, chaired by Cllr Madeline Murray decided to revoke the licence after the hearing on March 18.

Since May 2017, it has been a criminal offence to supply any tobacco products in packaging other than plain packaging.

New regulations make it a legal requirement that the only permitted colour of external packaging of tobacco is a drab dark brown with a matt finish.

The maximum penalty for breaching the regulations is a fine and two years imprisonment.

HMRC estimates that between 2016 and 2017 5.5bn illicit cigarettes and 2,700 tonnes of hand-rolling tobacco were consumed in the UK.

The trade of illicit tobacco products was estimated to cost the UK economy £2.5bn in lost revenue during that time through duties and VAT.