A COURT has ordered the closure of a market town store at the centre of a probe into the sale of illegal tobacco products 'to prevent the criminal behaviour and nuisance from continuing'.

Sam’s Store Mini Market in Front Street, Chester-le-Street, County Durham, had been subject of the trading standards investigation since December, a hearing at Peterlee Magistrates’ Court was told.

Durham County Council which brought the prosecution argued a closure order was necessary to prevent “the criminal behaviour and nuisance from continuing, recurring or occurring”.

The Northern Echo:

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Company director Saman Hama Saied, 39, of Morton Crescent, Fencehouses, Houghton-le-Spring, appeared before the court where the council applied for a closure order under Section 80 Anti-Social Behaviour of the Crime and Policing Act 2014.

Saied apologised to the court for what he had done and said he would not do it again in future.

Magistrates granted the closure order for a three-month period, backdated to April 5 and to remain in place until June 23.

Saied was ordered to pay the council’s costs of £1,514.00.

The Northern Echo:

Joanne Waller, Durham County Council’s head community protection services, said: “Selling illicit tobacco products affects communities on many levels.

“As well as having a serious impact on health, it brings crime and nuisance to neighbourhoods, makes it easier for children to get hold of cheap tobacco and undermines the efforts of stop smoking services.

"It also affects legitimate retailers who operate within the law.

“We remain recommitted to continuing our approach to work with partners to tackle crime and nuisance in our communities.”

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