Horsham convenience store has premises licence suspended for three months

A Horsham convenience store has had its premises licence suspended for three months.
Watch more of our videos on Shots! 
and live on Freeview channel 276
Visit Shots! now

Choice of Horsham was hit with the maximum suspension during a meeting of the district council’s licensing sub-committee on Monday (February 26).

The decision was made following an investigation by West Sussex Trading Standards and Sussex Police in October, during which a sniffer dog was taken to the shop, in Parkway.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A report to the meeting revealed that 95 oversize disposable vapes, which cannot be legally supplied in the UK, were found in a cardboard box in a small cupboard under the counter.

Polish cigarettes found at Choice of Horsham. Image: West Sussex Trading StandardsPolish cigarettes found at Choice of Horsham. Image: West Sussex Trading Standards
Polish cigarettes found at Choice of Horsham. Image: West Sussex Trading Standards

A spokesman for Trading Standards accused Choice of Horsham of undermining licensing objectives regarding public safety, the protection of children from harm and the prevention of crime and disorder.

He pointed out that e-cigarettes/vapes should contain no more than 2ml of liquid, which is enough for around 600 puffs – anything more would be a criminal offence.

The oversize vapes contained enough for 3,500 puffs.

The meeting was told that a decision regarding any prosecution was still to be made.

Over-size vapes found at Choice of Horsham. Image: West Sussex Trading StandardsOver-size vapes found at Choice of Horsham. Image: West Sussex Trading Standards
Over-size vapes found at Choice of Horsham. Image: West Sussex Trading Standards
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

As well as the vapes, 80 packs of 20 Polish ‘Marlboro Gold’ cigarettes, which did not comply with UK packaging rules, were found in a bin bag in the shop’s toilet area.

The spokesman added: “The illegal trade in tobacco costs the treasury over £2bn a year, harms legitimate business and presents a serious danger to public health.”

This was the second time in a year that the shop had fallen foul of Trading Standards.

In March 2023, it had its licence suspended for one-month after selling alcohol to a 16-year-old girl.

Choice Of Horsham. Image: GoogleMapsChoice Of Horsham. Image: GoogleMaps
Choice Of Horsham. Image: GoogleMaps
Hide Ad
Hide Ad

A representative for licence holder Harinder Singh Anand acknowledged that he knew that even having the vapes in the shop was an offence.

But he argued that the vapes were not for sale and were actually in the shop when the first investigation was carried out.

No clear response was given when questions were asked about why they had been bought if they were not for sale and why they had not been disposed of ‘in a correct and legal manner’.

Mr Anand said he had no knowledge of them and insisted that they had been placed in the shop by a previous manager who had since left the country.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He also said he had been unaware of the cigarettes, even though the bag was found on top of a pile of other stock.

While Trading Standards recommended that the licence be revoked, the committee chose suspension.

Chairman Nick Grant said the suspension was ‘proportational and reasonable’.

He told Mr Anand that he needed to ‘have a grip’ on his business and understand his responsibilities.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

He added: “We found your management of the business and your control over what goes on with the business to be unsatisfactory.

“You have serious responsibilities in running [the business] and you are responsible for what goes on even if you’re not there.

“You’ve got to be in control of your business. It’s very a serious responsibility that you have. We have to safeguard the community and each other.”

Mr Anand has 21 days to appeal the decision at a magistrates’ court.

Related topics: