Categorized | Featured, News, Press Release

BUSTED: MP sends crooked business up in smoke

Fuming Chesterfield shopkeepers and the town’s MP have won a major victory over a rogue trader. 

STUBBED OUT: Toby Perkins outside Bzee's

STUBBED OUT: Toby Perkins outside Bzee’s

Bzee, a tobacconist and sweetshop on Cavendish Street, was raided by Police and Trading Standards in a dramatic offensive on Wednesday – following pressure from Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins to stub out the shop’s illegal trading.

Confirmed reports indicated the shop had been selling counterfeit and untaxed cigarettes for a fraction of the price of genuine products. A huge haul of contraband cigarettes with a significant street value was seized by officers and the shop’s staff were arrested.

Sniffer dogs had previously located thousands of pounds of illegal stock in two separate raids at the premises earlier this year, but the shop reopened after both incidents with new staff and more illicit tobacco.

Fake cigarettes are produced with a dangerous cocktail of ingredients, posing a greater danger to users than regulated legitimate products. Evidence also indicates that the illegal tobacco trade is used as a vehicle to fund more serious organised crime.

Frustrated lawful local traders, who say their takings have been hit by up to 35% since Bzees opened in December last year, went en masse to Chesterfield MP Toby Perkins just over a week ago to make their case. Legal loopholes and a wider police investigation had prevented lasting action being taken, but Mr Perkins took up the issue immediately with the Police, Trading Standards and the shop’s letting agent, coordinating a multi-agency approach and securing this closure within ten days of being made aware of the situation. The MP also pressed the premises’ letting agent to end Bzee’s tenancy permanently and immediately evict the proprietors, which was acted upon and guarantees these rogue traders won’t be returning to this premises.     

Finally closed

Finally closed

Following the raid, Toby Perkins said: “I was horrified to hear that fake cigarettes were being sold in Chesterfield and that Bzee’s irresponsible proprietors had been selling the counterfeit products to underage customers.  Law-abiding businesses were having their hard-won profits hit by this rogue trader and the public were at danger so I was determined to see this illegal operation shutdown.

“Concerns have been raised that Bzee was operating as a front for more serious organised crime so I’m delighted the shop has now been closed and that the shady figures behind the operation are now being brought to justice.”

Mr Perkins added: “I commend the respectable newsagents in Chesterfield town centre for standing up to this illegal operation and I’m delighted to have been able to help put a stop to this criminality.”     

John May, proprietor of the Sweet Stop on nearby Elder Way, who led the delegation of newsagents to see Mr Perkins, said: “We’re delighted Toby Perkins took up the case of the honest local traders so quickly and had Bzee’s shut in only ten days. We’re really grateful for his support.”

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Welcome

I am Toby Perkins, Labour's Member of Parliament for Chesterfield. If you would like to get in touch with me, my office is open and can be reached by phone on 01246 386 286. I also hold regular surgeries so that constituents can meet me and I can take up their concerns. If you would like to make an appointment then please do contact my office. Thank you for visiting.

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Post: 113 Saltergate, Chesterfield, S40 1NF

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