Tobacco campaigners have called for a rethink on licensing laws, after a Fife shop banned from selling cigarettes changed the name on its lease.
Fife Council applied for a tobacco retail banning order against Humayum Saleem, trading as Costcutter, 49 Main Street, Lochgelly, after staff were caught selling tobacco products to under-age customers on three occasions.
But the shop, the first registered tobacco outlet in Fife to be banned from selling tobacco products, changed the name on its lease and is once again selling tobacco.
In February Dunfermline Sheriff Court granted the order to ban the shop from selling tobacco for four months. The legislation bans the person as opposed to the premise from selling tobacco.
ASH Scotland, a voluntary organization that tackles tobacco use and seeks to limit the number of young people taking up smoking, called for a change in licensing laws for tobacco, to match those in place for selling alcohol.
Chief executive Sheila Duffy said: “To get to the stage of being banned from selling tobacco, which is an addictive and lethal substance, you have to ignore a number of clear warnings.
“It is disappointing that an apparent loophole in the law has allowed the continued sale of tobacco at these premises despite a ban. We would like to see any restriction on tobacco sales apply to the premises as well as the individual, as happens with alcohol.”
Fife Council confirmed the individual who had the tobacco retail banning order served against them no longer runs the Lochgelly business on a daily basis.
Service manager of consumer and business education Geoff Bates said: “We have investigated the issue and the individual who received a four-month tobacco retail banning order on February 24 is no longer the manager of the Costcutter franchise at Lochgelly.”
Fife Council legal services has highlighted this as being an issue in the drafting of the tobacco legislation to the Scottish Government, since tobacco products continue to be sold from the premises.
A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: “It would be inappropriate to comment on an individual case. As part of its tobacco control strategy, the Scottish Government announced its intention to review the operation of what has been widely seen as the highly successful Scottish Tobacco Retailer Register, and we will begin this review next year.”