A Malvern shop where a stash of illegal tobacco was found hidden behind a mirror could lose its alcohol licence.

Trading standards officers said Link News should have its licence revoked after illicit tobacco products were found during two raids that took place more than two years apart.

Shop owner Salah Sharifi has already admitted four trading standards offences in court and faces the prospect of more charges.

Officers first raided the Worcester Road store in February 2021 and seized 173 packs of cigarettes and 19 pouches of hand-rolling tobacco found behind the sales counter.

At Worcester Magistrates Court on August 19, 2022, Mr Sharifi admitted four offences related to the illegal supply of tobacco.

He was fined £1,024 by magistrates and told to pay £2,000 in costs plus a £102 victim surcharge.

Another raid on Link News was carried out in May 2023 and after initially being unable to find illegal goods, officers were joined by a tobacco detection dog.

“The dog gave a positive indication that there may be tobacco products concealed behind a mirror on the wall of the toilet at the rear of the shop,” licensing documents reveal.

“The mirror was found to be hinged and operated by an electromagnet.

“When opened, the concealment contained 166 packs of cigarettes and 14 pouches of hand rolling tobacco, all illicit, and they were seized.”

In a subsequent interview with trading standards, Mr Sharifi said he was unaware of the hidden tobacco products and so they must have been there for more than four years.

But officers found one pack of cigarettes had been manufactured only three months before the raid.

Trading standards said a criminal prosecution report has been produced and is currently with its solicitor.

Malvern Hills District Council’s licensing committee is due to make a decision on whether to revoke the shop’s alcohol licence on Tuesday, March 4.

West Mercia Police licensing officer Jen Evans, in a letter included among licensing documents, said she supports the application for the licence to be removed.