Illegal tobacco sales and repeated incidents of antisocial behaviour have led to a Chatham shop receiving a closure order – the first time such legislation has been used against a business in Kent.
Chatham Express, a convenience store in the High Street, was issued with the order on Tuesday 30 June 2020 after Kent Police’s Medway Community Safety Unit successfully made an application to Folkestone Magistrates’ Court.
Such powers are usually used to prevent people entering residences that are associated with antisocial behaviour or drug dealing but, on this occasion, the order prohibits anyone from entering the shop. It will remain in place until 8 September 2020 and any breaches could lead to a fine and possible arrest.
The action was taken following repeated incidents of antisocial behaviour that were in some way linked to the store.
A search carried out on 11 June also led to the discovery of 900 boxes of illegally imported cigarettes, which were seized for destruction. The seizure is one of four made since 2018. During this time over 8,000 packets of cigarettes and 400 pouches of tobacco were seized.
Sergeant Steve Holpin, from the Medway Community Safety Unit, said: ‘This store was closely linked to a huge amount of antisocial behaviour in Chatham and, despite repeated visits from our officers, the situation failed to improve.
‘We listened carefully to the concerns of people visiting the town, and businesses in the area, and could not allow the issues to go unchallenged. As this case shows, we will always use the full remit of our powers to resolve an issue and take proportionate action anyone involved in antisocial behaviour. I am confident this result will have a positive impact on the surrounding area.’