A Bolton off-licence which lost its alcohol licence is to remain without it after an application to restore it was unsuccessful.

California Wines lost its alcohol licence for illegal activities including the sale of illicit tobacco from the site on Wigan Road.

Trading Standards said there was a sophisticated system to take the illicit tobacco from the first floor to the ground floor involving eight different buttons for eight different brands of cigarette and a chute.

(Image: Bolton Council)

They seized more than 8,000 cigarettes and around two and a half kilos of tobacco, some of which was thrown onto the roof in black bin bags, whilst they were in attendance in the autumn of last year.

In the spring of this year a new owner, Pulla Ahmed, applied for an alcohol licence. The old owner, Masoud Salimi, is no longer involved in the business.

Mr Ahmed appeared at the town hall this week where a committee heard how he too has a history of illegal activities while involved in other businesses.

(Image: Bolton Council)

Andrew Bolan, the head of regulatory services, said: "He is not fit to hold a licence. If he is allowed to hold a licence I am in no doubt we will be back before a committee in a few months to review it."

A report said Mr Ahmed was the licence holder for M & M Mini Market on Halliwell Road, Bolton, from 2018 to 2020 until a criminal conviction for the sale of illicit tobacco.

The report said Mr Ahmed is the licence holder for Top Nosh Grocery & Wine on Scholefield Lane, Wigan, where Wigan Council is investigating the sale of illicit tobacco too.

(Image: Bolton Council)

The report said: "It would appear Pulla Ahmed continues to engage in illegal activity as demonstrated by the seizure of illicit tobacco from Top Nosh Grocery & Wine by Trading Standards in 2022."

Mr Ahmed told the committee his criminal conviction was not relevant to the application because it was a number of years ago.

After consideration by councillors David Chadwick, David Grant and Andrea Taylor-Burke the application was unsuccessful.

This article was written by Jack Tooth. To contact him, email jack.tooth@newsquest.co.uk or follow @JTRTooth on Twitter.