A newsagent in Swindon has been issued with a three month closure order after police found evidence that counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco were being sold at the premises. 

Havelock News will now close for a period of three months after magistrates in Swindon approved the closure order yesterday. 

Officers applied for the order following calls to the address on two separate occasions in less than five days which saw them locate a large quantity of counterfeit and non-duty paid cigarettes and tobacco. 

During one of the visits to the shop, one of the members of staff was also found to be working in the UK illegally. 

PC Mike Diffin, who applied for the closure order said: "The sale of counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco causes significant health risk to members of the public - without this closure order there were serious concerns that the premises would continue with the sale of these items and the criminal activity at the address would continue. 

"Over the coming months, officers will continue to conduct regular patrols and visits to the site to ensure the order is being complied with and any breaches will be pursued - if necessary, other interventions will be considered."

Peter Jones, from Trading Standards at Swindon Borough Council,  said: "The illicit tobacco trade has links to various knock on harmful effects within our communities and also has links to organised crime. There can be increased health and safety risks, especially in counterfeit cigarettes and tobacco as the ingredients can be more toxic and the cigarettes do not have reduced ignition propensity features, which can result in fires starting from non extinguished cigarettes."

The order means that the premises will close to the public, and only the owner or those who reside at the address shall be permitted to enter. Anyone found in breach of this will be committing an offence and may be arrested.

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