Illegal cigarettes and tobacco seized in raid on Beverley's exclusive Grosvenor Club
ONLY a privileged few ever get inside the Grosvenor Club.
Housed behind high walls in the centre of Beverley, it is strictly members only.
But the peace at the club was shattered by a HM Revenue and Customs raid that found illicit tobacco they say was being traded.
The man with the stash was a Grosvenor committee member.
Thinking of renting your property out???? Lime are here to...View details
Lime Property are the regions fastest growing letting agent. If you have a property that you require a tenant for look no further Lime Property are here to help. Call us today on 01482 216060.
Contact: 01482 216060
Valid until: Sunday, May 26 2013
Officers marched into the men-only club on a quiet Sunday.
HM Revenues and Customs says they discovered illegal duty-free cigarettes and rolling tobacco, which was being traded on the premises.
A spokesman said: "The goods were seized and we are looking into the matter further.
"It was not a large quantity of cigarettes and hand rolling tobacco but we suspect the individual's stocks had been depleted due to sales of the goods."
The raid, which followed information passed to customs from the public, was launched on Sunday, September 16.
Witnesses say officers walked into the club and straight to a table, under which the stash had been left.
Revenue and Customs confirmed a committee member at the club owned up to the cigarettes being his.
They are in no doubt the tobacco was being traded on the premises but no one has been arrested or charged. The investigation is still under way.
The spokesman said: "The penalties for this kind of offence vary.
"We do look to prosecute for this offence."
The prosecution of a committee member would be a blow for The Grosvenor Club, which has existed since 1922. It has 600 members, ranging from solicitors and accountants to dustbin men and builders.
The club is entirely owned by its members, none of whom are women. However, it says anyone can apply to join.
The club's secretary for the past 34 years has been Bryan Pearson, a respected East Riding Councillor and former Mayor of Beverley.
He tends the large palatial garden that borders New Walkergate and includes a bowling green.
Mr Pearson had just left the club when it was raided.
"When they came in the man was outside playing bowls, he was not selling cigarettes," said Mr Pearson.
"It was a committee member. This was just a silly little incident. It was small number of cigarettes and a small amount of tobacco which he explained was for his own use.
"This club has never sold illicit cigarettes. The member concerned has been spoken to and in future will not do the same again.
"I've told him if he ever brings them into the club he will be reprimanded. We don't mess about with miscreants."
While the club deems the matter dealt with, HM Revenue and Customs maintains illicit cigarettes are a serious problem and seeks to prosecute wherever possible.
If you know someone who is selling duty-free tobacco products, call the hotline on 0800 595000.