Police suspect a woman who wants to sell booze at a Spalding shop of being “involved in the distribution of smuggled goods”.
But Ernesta Tamutyte (30) denies the claim and says of the police who are opposing her licensing application: “They have to shame me, they have to put as much dirt at me as they can.”
The mum-of-two says she is applying to sell alcohol at Global Foods on Winsover Road because she’s building the business and alcohol will account for 30 per cent of sales.
“I do work really hard and it’s not easy having a young family,” she said.
Ms Tamutyte and her solicitor will join police in giving evidence at her licence application hearing before South Holland District Council’s licensing panel on Friday.
The shop was stripped of its right to sell alcohol on September 30 following a police raid when 29 bottles of non-duty-paid booze were found behind the counter.
At that time, then leaseholder Delon Kuriakose and then new owner Marius Legavicius failed to reassure the licensing panel that Global Foods was being run within the guidelines of its premises licence.
Mr Legavicius and Ms Tamutyte are in a relationship as a couple, but Ms Tamutyte says she has bought Global Foods and “it is nothing to do with Marius any more”.
Ms Tamutyte says she has not been involved in any illegal sales – and, at the time problems were reported with Global Foods, she was running her own coffee shop, Valgyklele, in New Road, Spalding.
A police report to the licensing panel says: “Lincolnshire Police believe that Mr Legavicius continues to run the business and feel that as the licence was revoked whilst under the management and ownership of Mr Legavicius, that neither he, nor any direct associate of him are suitable persons to be holding a premise licence or acting as a DPS for any licensed premise.”
That report says on October 9, Mr Legavicius submitted an application for both the premises licence and designated premises supervisor (DPS) but, following police representations, both applications were withdrawn.
It says Trading Standards conducted a cigarette test purchase at Global Foods on November 16 when the member of staff present sold foreign branded cigarettes, believed to be non-duty-paid smuggled goods.
The report says police and trading standards officers visited again on December 22, when they found breaches of premises licence conditions.
Police say: “The premise was shown to be falsifying documents and showing a complete disregard for the premise licensing conditions.
“Despite there being entries within the underage refusals register stating that refusals had been made, when the CCTV system was interrogated these entries were proven to be false.
“Mr Legavicius attended part way through the visit, and was subsequently advised that they were in breach of the premise licence and reminded of their obligations to maintain the licensing objectives.
“It was shortly after this time that the premise withdrew their appeal application and ceased selling alcohol.”
On February 23 police found metal kegs, formerly used for the storage of alcohol, at Global Foods and, on March 18, there was a visit to make a test purchase of cigarettes when the test purchaser was advised to visit a nearby store that sold foreign labelled cigarettes.