A HEREFORDSHIRE shop that sold bootleg tobacco has broken the law again.

Europe Quality Food in Brookend Street, Ross-on-Wye – already forced to shut over its illicit trading – has been hit with another closure notice, this time for failing to comply with fire safety rules.

It had put staff, customers and people living in flats above the shop at increased risk of death or serious injury, Hereford and Worcester Fire and Rescue Service (HWFRS) said.

Earlier this month Kosar Othman Mohammed, 39, of Cranemoor Close, Birmingham, and employee Karwan Kamil Salh, 19, of Livingstone Road, Handsworth, Birmingham, pleaded guilty to charges of the sale and possession for sale of illegal and counterfeit tobacco at Europe Quality Food.

In a raid in January, Trading Standards seized about 31,000 illegal foreign non UK-duty and counterfeit cigarettes.

Hereford magistrates handed down community penalties to Mohammed and Salh of 240 and 180 hours unpaid work respectively. Both men were ordered to pay £983 each in costs.

A three-month closure notice was issued to the shop on May 7.

The newest closure notice was issued after an earlier inspection identified several fire safety concerns.

The "responsible person" was told to put things right, but had not complied.

Station Commander Sean Bailey of HWFRS said: "We will continue to work with our partners to take effective action against anyone who does not comply with fire safety law, ensuring that the communities of Herefordshire are as safe as they can be."

Sergeant Duncan Reynolds of West Mercia Police said: "We hope that this closure notice will send a clear message to those involved in serious and organised crime that we are committed to disrupting and dismantling the criminal behaviour of those involved, while demonstrating that we will continue to work closely with our partner agencies to take action against those involved."

The action against the shop followed a joint investigation by the police, Trading Standards and the fire service.