An eastern European grocery shop has been refused its second application to sell alcohol since being banned from doing so in 2015 when a police raid found counterfeit booze and cigarettes.
Applicant Ernesta Tamutyte had claimed Global Foods in Spalding was in the hands of her partner Marius Legavicius when it was raided in November 2015, but new evidence showed she was joint owner at the time.
The three recent deaths in Spalding from a fire, started with a discarded illegal cigarette, highlight the issues that are directly attributable to this sort of criminal behaviourLincolnshire Police
This fatally undermined her credibility and meant any suggestion of her running the Winsover Road premises properly could not be taken seriously, said police.
Miss Tamutyte applied for a premises licence before a panel of the committee of South Holland District Council’s Licensing Authority yesterday (Wednesday).
She said she would uphold licensing laws by installing prominent signs warning of noise disturbance, having a fully operational CCTV system, keeping an up-to-date incident book and training staff as to their responsibilities regarding the sale of alcohol.
She claimed previous problems were the fault of her partner and that she would run the shop properly.However, when challenged she admitted she had previously signed false entries in the refusals register under the instruction of her partner which “fatally undermined” her credibility.
Lincolnshire Police had objected to the new application on the grounds of crime and disorder and public safety.
They said that when the store previously lost its licence for keeping smuggled goods, Miss Tamutyte’s partner Marius Legavicius was the owner. After a failed application to transfer him on to the licence, she tried to re-licence the premises in May 2016.
It has since transpired that she was joint owner of the shop when the smuggled cigarettes were sold and other licence breaches committed.
“Any suggestion that she can be given the responsibility to run the premises properly cannot be taken seriously,” police said.
“Miss Tamutyte’s evidenced history of involvement with Mr Legavicius and associated criminality shows that she is unable to prevent crime and disorder.
“The three recent deaths in Spalding from a fire, started with a discarded illegal cigarette, highlight the issues that are directly attributable to this sort of criminal behaviour.”
They said they did not believe there has been any change of owner and the fact it is now known she was co-owner back in November 2015 makes the application even weaker.
A Bourne Road resident also made a submission to the panel, saying Global Foods customers often park cars in the pedestrian paved area in the middle of the traffic light system.
She said shop customers have also previously stood around drinking and smoking, which she found intimidating, adding there is already a street drinking problem in Spalding, which often leads to drinkers urinating outdoors in the daytime.
The panel – made up of three district councillors – heard the shop had a poor history of compliance with licencing conditions.
It had also demonstrated behaviour that undermined the crime prevention objective, particularly with regards to illegal alcohol and cigarettes and faking documents.
The premises held an alcohol licence until September 2015, when it was revoked for selling non-duty cigarettes and booze. Moulton mother-of-two Miss Tamutyte applied for the licence to be reinstated last May, but was unsuccessful.
During the last hearing she said she would present a clean slate, but it soon became apparent she had lied about entries on the refusal register.
Miss Tamutyte claimed to the fresh hearing that she had learned her lesson and appealed for a fresh chance.
However, in making its decision, the panel of Couns Angela Harrison (chair), Michael Booth and Harry Drury said: “There is good evidence to suggest the applicant was involved in running the business prior to the test purchase of illegal cigarettes.
“Indeed the applicant when answering questions conceded that she on a few occasions had sold illegal cigarettes.
“In light of the poor history of these premises and the proposal that it would remain under the management of one of the people who had allowed unlawful activity to take place, the only step which would be appropriate for the promotion of the licensing objectives is to refuse the application.
“There are no conditions that would alleviate the concerns the panel have, particularly with regard to the prevention of crime and disorder.”
• By law, Miss Tamutyte has 21 days to appeal the decision. She had hoped to sell alcohol seven days-a-week, 8.30am to 10pm.