A Great Barr shop has had its alcohol licence revoked for selling illicit cigarettes - after the employee responsible said he did not know they were illegal.

The Polski & Romanesc store at 2 Old Walsall Road was found to have breached the prevention of crime and disorder conditions linked to the sale of beer, wine and spirits.

Councillors revoked the shop’s permit after hearing an inspection by Sandwell Council Trading Standards found illicit tobacco on the premises and that after hours sales had taken place.

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Details of the case were given behind closed doors after licensing officers asked for the press and public be excluded from the meeting to ensure any future criminal prosecutions were not prejudiced.

But giving their decision in public, Sandwell licensing committee outlined its reasons for revoking the licence.

Cllr Bob Piper, committee chairman, said: “We have heard evidence of the presence on the premises of illicit or counterfeit tobacco and we have also heard the designated premises supervisor (DPS) failed to understand that this was illegal in itself.

“That has caused us some concern because a DPS should have an understanding of the law in respect of licensing.”

He added: “We have heard about serious management failures in respect of the running of the premises and the lack of supervision of the premises.

“There appears to be an almost clear admission that there was the sale of counterfeit tobacco and we know that there was a sale of counterfeit tobacco to Trading Standards officers and there was the presence of other packs of counterfeit and untaxed tobacco on the premises.

"We also know there was the sale of alcohol to Trading Standards officers outside the permitted hours.

“Therefore we have taken the decision to revoke the licence of the premises.”

The store now has 21 days to appeal the decision.