Snuff and smuggled cigarettes were behind the till in Finsbury Park off-licence Gunners

Blackstock Road

Blackstock Road - Credit: Archant

Dozens of packs of banned snuff were seized at a Finsbury Park off-licence – which has been rapped with three weeks’ closure as punishment.

Customs officials seized 139 packets of the illegal ground tobacco from Gunners in Blackstock Road in March.

Trading standards officers also found 280 smuggled Marlborough Gold cigarettes – 240 of which were hidden behind a Rizla box in the tobacco cabinet, and 40 others underneath the shelf.

Licence holder Servet Yildiz claimed he had bought the tobacco for his father in a tape-recorded interview.

The sale of oral snuff is banned in most European countries apart from Sweden.

Studies have shown daily users suffer higher rates of oral and throat cancer.

The shop’s licence has been suspended for three weeks following a Town Hall meeting on Thursday last week – to “act as a future deterrent”.

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Mr Yildiz must also display a sign stating `We do not buy or sell illegal tobacco here’,

According to licensing documents, the HMRC seized spirits, wines and cigarettes from the shop in 2014, 2012 and 2010 after finding duty hadn’t been paid on them. In a letter supporting the licensing review, Hackney and the City’s director of public health Dr Penny Bevan said: “The sale of illegal tobacco and alcohol suggest mismanagement at this premise.

“The fact seizures have been made in the premises on several occasions over several years shows continued mismanagement after multiple warnings.

“The availability of illicit alcohol and tobacco in premises such as these make it easier for residents to access these products at reduced prices. If residents can access cheap tobacco it makes it harder for smokers to quit and also makes it easier for non smokers to start, and ex-smokers to relapse.

“Making cheap tobacco available makes it easier for children to start smoking and enables them to become hooked at a young age.”

The Gazette could not reach Mr Yildiz for comment.