Burghers of Calais call time on EastEnders

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The Independent Online
COCKNEY enterprise has taken a former East End barrow boy to the French channel port of Calais, where he runs a 24-hour roadside discount liquor business from a small rusty caravan, writes Kathy Marks.

Dave West, whose EastEnders stock includes a beer, Extra Strong Pils, and a wine called Vinocalapso, estimates the introduction of generous duty-free allowances in 1993 could triple his pounds 4m turnover.

Trading from an industrial zone near the car ferry port, Mr West offers a peculiarly English service to customers. All staff are English, sterling is accepted and Mr West himself speaks only the mother tongue. His success has, however, attracted the wrath of French competitors. The Calais Chamber of Commerce is trying to evict him and to prevent his buying the land on the ground that he is running a retail business in a manufacturing area.

Mr West points out that there are other retailers - including a French discount beer warehouse - near by.

Shortly before Christmas, he gained a powerful ally - the European Commission, to which he had taken his case.

The Commission believes Mr West may be the victim of unjustifiable trading restrictions or of discrimination on the ground of nationality, and has written to the French authorities saying so.

(Photograph omitted)

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