Police object to Sutton Bridge store owner's booze application, fearing he has links to previous boss
Police have objected to a convenience store owner's bid to sell alcohol - saying they believe the applicant has close links to the previous owner, who had his own booze licence revoked.
The application for City Stores, in Bridge Road, Sutton Bridge, was made on November 12 by Ramesh Babu Mohan – just three weeks after previous owner Arumugam Sarankan lost his licence due to an illegal worker serving two 15‐year‐olds alcohol.
However, Mr Sarankan appealed the decision, which means the shop is still currently able to sell booze until that case is heard.
The application by Mr Babu will be heard by a panel of South Holland District Council's Licensing Committee next Thursday.
In the meeting's agenda, Lincolnshire Police say they were immediately concerned about the application due to the history of the premises and the very quick turnaround since the licence was lost.
They said they have experience of the ways premises try to obtain a new licence after one has been revoked - often using a new figurehead, when in reality the person behind the business is the same individual who lost his licence.
Due to past lessons learnt, police say they scrutinise these applications and request paperwork to evidence business sale, as well as carrying out other checks.
In this case, an officer had a phone conversation with Mr Mohan, explaining the need to provide evidence of genuine business purchase. Mr Mohan said Mr Sarankan had nothing to do with the premises any more and he didn’t know him before the business deal.
In a subsequent email, Mr Mohan said he bought the business on November 8 and has formed a company under the business called Lakshnas Retail. He did not show evidence of business purchase.
Police say Companies House shows Mr Sarankan as director of Nlitegroup, which is connected to City Stores' address in Sutton Bridge through a VAT search. Mr Sarankan provided a business email address on his applications which was also previously used by Mr Mohan in his correspondence with the police.
Also, Mr Mohan’s personal correspondence address in London is the same address Mr Sarankan and his company Nlitegroup has been connected to since December 2019.
A statement for Thursday's hearing reads: "Lincolnshire Police cannot offer any suitable conditions at this time as the evidence indicates Mr Sarankan is connected to this application and is still involved with the premises. We therefore request that the application is refused."
In his application Mr Mohan says, if the licence is granted, the 'Challenge 25' policy would be in place at all times, CCTV will be installed and staff trained in responsible alcohol retailing.
He added that all staff will have right to work in UK documents checked before being offered employment.