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Ealing shop’s license suspended after discovery of ‘illicit’ drugs

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Councillors shocked to find ‘prescription’ drugs at store

An off licence has had its licence suspended after a team from Ealing Council found unmarked illegal items on the premises.

Harcharan Singh claimed he was allowing locals to store their medicines at his shop, King Quality Foods, while they visited the nearby temple.

Singh’s representative, Surendra Panchal, told the panel about the reasons which baffled the chair of the licensing sub-committee, Cllr Anthony Kelly.

Cllr Kelly did not comprehend how a package of drugs would be difficult to fit in someone’s bag, pocket, or car.

The officials found drugs including high blood pressure and diabetes medication at the store.

Moreover, Shane Elliot, Council Officer, discovered a kilo of Indian tobacco as well as 5kg of poppy seeds.

When asked about the confiscation of the poppy seeds, Mr Elliot expressed his belief that, under certain circumstances, they could be categorized as opiates.

However, Mr Panchal pushed back on the assertion, explaining that the poppy seeds could simply be used for a number of “culinary and domestic purposes” and help up a bag of seeds he had bought at a local supermarket.

He did admit that his client had been caught with Indian tobacco and offered an apology on his behalf.

The panel was told that Mr Singh has held his licence since 2019 and has never previously had issues over illicit products.

Although the panel accepted this, one of the sticking points for Cllr Julian Galant was the fact that after the initial discovery of illicit substances being present on the premises, Mr Singh lied about there being more.

However, further items were seized after being found by a police sniffer dog.

The panel displayed clear dissatisfaction with Mr Singh’s behaviour and found his explanation regarding the presence of prescription drugs on the premises, including diabetes medication, to be unsatisfactory.

Councillor Brett, the Cabinet member for decent living incomes told Pharmacy Business: “Getting illegal products off the streets of our borough is a key priority for us in keeping our residents safe.

“We will continue to prosecute and crack down on traders who supply any illicit items and counterfeit goods in Ealing. We urge members of the public to be vigilant when purchasing items, especially illegal medicines that can pose a great threat to their health.”

Correction: A previous version of this article included a shopfront image of Quality Foods, 41-67 South Road, Southall. In fact, the illegal items were found at King Quality Food, 72 King Street. We would like to apologise for the use of the incorrect shopfront image and make clear that Quality Foods has no relation to this story.

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