Court orders two Boston shops to close after joint Police and Trading Standards investigation
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Two shops have been forced to close after illegal items worth tens of thousands of pounds were discovered on the premises.
Officials at Lincoln Magistrates’ Court issued Closure Orders to Bucharest on West Street and King Power on Horncastle Road under the Anti-social Behaviour, Crime and Policing Act 2014, on 30 May.
Tens of thousands of illegal cigarettes, illegal vapes, and thousands of pounds in cash were seized by officers in raids during a joint operation between Lincolnshire Police and Lincolnshire Trading Standards. The shops were targeted in a crackdown against the sale of illegal cigarettes and alcohol.
The proprietors had taken extensive measures to hide their illegal products from officers, including false walls, false ceilings, false floors, hydraulic lifts, and electrically operated magnetic locks. In one case, chilli powder was even used around the products, attempting to distract detection dogs.
Sergeant Ian Cotton, of Lincolnshire Police, said: “We want to make our neighbourhoods safer, and we believe we are contributing to that with this operation. Other areas in the country have been successful in reducing crime and anti-social behaviour by closing shops that were selling illicit goods in those areas.
“In this case we worked with our partners to address a particular issue in the community. We will continue to work on this issue and will be looking at other areas across Lincolnshire.
“Great attempts were made in hiding this activity, but thanks to a specialist canine support we were able to locate these hides.”
Andy Wright, Principal Trading Standards Officer, said: “I hope these two Closure Orders are the first of many. Trading Standards and the Police have responded to public concerns of lawlessness, particularly in the West Street area of Boston. That lawlessness is in no small part due to the criminal activity found in these shops.
“We have been contacted by a number of legitimate businesses in the area who have found that they cannot compete on equal terms. It is unfortunate that in some cases they have been put out of business. We do what we can to provide a level playing field for legitimate business.”
Inspector Fran Harrod, of Lincolnshire Police, said: “The people of Boston have made quite clear that they expect the authorities to take action in response to their concerns about blatant law breaking happening in plain sight. This result is an excellent outcome to show our communities we listen to their concerns.”
“We are listening, we are taking action, and we are grateful for your help.”