Officers of the Port of Spain City Police and Customs Special Investigations Unit yesterday confiscated more than 1,000 bottles of illegally-stocked Stag and Carib beer during a crackdown conducted in the Central Market.
Supt Glen Charles, who led the exercise, told Sunday Newsday that of the 50 vendors who occupied booths in a section of the market, about half of them were selling alcoholic beverages.
“We initiated an exercise this morning (yesterday). The objective of the exercise was to deal with the persons who were selling alcohol illegally,” he said. “It have about 50 booths here and the information received is that out of the 50 booths, is about half involved in the illegal trade of alcohol.”
Charles said the exercise, which came after a police tip-off, revealed the vendors did not have licences to sell alcohol. “So, as a result we seized the items and it will be going to customs where they will conduct further investigations on these items.”
Saying the errant vendors did not put up a fight, Charles regarded the exercise as a success.
“It was fruitful. We want to send a strong message that in the year 2018, we would not be tolerating these types of illegal activities.
“The market is a place that is supposed to be seeking produce and over-consumption of alcohol could lead to violent behaviour.”
Charles said alcohol being sold illegally in the market would give shoppers the wrong impression.
He added: “When a man come to the market and he see people selling alcohol, right away he get concerned and say law and order break down. So, we want to restore that confidence between the police and the customer.”
Charles said yesterday’s crackdown was part of a broader plan between the Police Service and other stakeholders to eradicate crime within the capital city.
“The criminals are coming out with a level of intensity. So, we have to match those operations with the city in conjunction with the police.”
Charles said the city police is also intent on working closely with the community to restore trust and confidence.
The team included acting corporals Charles, Marslyn, Joseph and Wiltshire as well as PCs Bharath and Singh.