Blackpool shop slapped with closure order over illegal activity

A Blackpool town centre shop has been hit with a two-month closure order following repeated illegal activity.

Corner Bargains on Caunce Street is now closed following a joint operation between Blackpool Council and Lancashire Constabulary as part of Operation Centurion.

Following multiple visits and seizures, the following issues were identified:

·        Selling nicotine inhaling products to underage children

·        Selling illicit/illegal cigarettes and tobacco products

·        Anti-social behaviour near the premises

·        Not positively engaging with officers of the council and police

·        Workers not having/providing identification on request

Operation Centurion is Lancashire-wide crackdown on anti-social behaviour which was launched by Lancashire Police in Summer 2023, backed by Police and Crime Commissioner Andrew Snowden and £2m of extra funding secured from the Government’s new Anti-social Behaviour Action Plan.

The Brunswick ward of Blackpool was identified as a hotspot when the operation launched, and has benefitted from additional policing resources and funding.

In addition to the enforced closure, the operator also had to agree to a number of conditions on a Community Protection Warning. These include implementing a Challenge 25 policy for age-restricted products, staff training, a new register of employees’ details, improved record-keeping to demonstrate where products have been purchased from and ensuring no illicit products are sold from the premises.

Cllr Paula Burdess, Cabinet Member with responsibility for Community Safety, said: “This shop was having an impact on the local community as a result of the illegal activity and anti-social behaviour that was taking place both inside and outside the property.

“Closing a business for two months is not a decision that we take lightly but in this case, it was absolutely needed to break the cycle of behaviour and protect the public.

“It is worrying to hear that the operator refused to co-operate with ourselves and the Police. This closure should send a strong message to other traders in the town that they need to work with us or face the consequences.”

Inspector Jon Campbell-Smith, Blackpool Police, said: “We welcome this closure order that has come as a result of hard work alongside our partners at Blackpool Council.

“This behaviour will not be tolerated, and we will continue to tackle anti-social behaviour and challenge shop operators who choose to take part in illegal activity.”

Andrew Snowden, Lancashire's Police and Crime Commissioner said: "This kind of proactive enforcement is exactly what Op Centurion is all about, responding to community concerns and tackling illegal and anti-social activity head-on.

"The impact of working in partnership is clear to see, with civil enforcement action directly addressing anti-social behaviour. This is something that we are continuing to build on across Lancashire, and why I funded the ASB Prevention and Problem Solving Command; a team of specialist officers including civil enforcement, designing-out crime and business and rural crime experts.

"Anti-social behaviour is a blight on our communities and a priority in my Fighting Crime Plan, as its an issue that residents raise with me time and time again. This type of enforcement, where necessary, alongside the additional policing hours being seen in hotspot areas, is having a positive impact on communities, and keeping law-abiding Lancashire residents safe."

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