A Spalding off-licence has lost its right to sell alcohol after smuggled goods were found on the premises.
Police discovered 29 bottles of booze behind the counter of Global Foods with no duty paid on them.
You are not talking about ‘Del Boy’ here. It’s the black economy with criminals behind it and the money made goes to fund criminal activitySgt Kimble Enderby
Leaseholder Delon Kuriakose and new owner Marius Legavicius, of the Eastern European shop in Winsover Road, appeared before a South Holland District Council licensing panel yesterday but failed to re-assure members that the business was being run within the guidelines of its premises licence.
Sgt Kimble Enderby, who first raised concerns about the lack of knowledge and understanding by the staff after a routine visit to the shop in June, said he had never before attended a hearing where, after hearing from the owners, he had come away even more convinced a premises was not being run as it should be. “They knowingly bought items which were smuggled goods which they then sold. They have then lied to the police.
“You are not talking about ‘Del Boy’ here. It’s the black economy with criminals behind it and the money made goes to fund criminal activity.”
Police called for a review of the premises licence after the smuggled booze was found during a routine visit in July.
The police also cited “serious concerns over the management of the premises and the lack of promotion of licensing objectives” for the review.
There was also no CCTV, which is a licence requirement, and no log book to record times when sales have been refused because of the age of the customer. Officers issued an action plan for these to be corrected.
On September 4, a council licensing officer made a further inspection and the licence summary was again not on display or available, staff didn’t know how to download CCTV images and the refusal register only contained four entries, from July 3 to July 5.
At the time the alcohol was seized, the licence holder and designated premises supervisor was Mr Kuriakose, who had held the licence since December 2013.
However, he told the panel he had sold the business to Mr Legavicius and his name was only on the licence because his lease had not run out. He said: “My situation in February last year was very bad.
“My wife had had surgery and I was unable to concentrate on the business or be there.
“At first Marius Legavicius looked after it for me and then he agreed to buy it.
“But my name remained on it because I have a five-year lease. After the visit from the police I told Marius he must get a personal licence and training. Without alcohol sales the shop would not make any money.”
Mr Legavicius, who also has a car wash business in town, told the panel he had not realised he had done anything wrong when he bought the seized alcohol over the counter. He said: “Someone came in and asked if I would like to buy it. I bought it and put it on the shelves. But now I only buy from the cash and carry.”
In delivering the verdict, Coun Angela Harrison, chairman of the licensing committee, said: “The panel felt that the crime prevention objective is being undermined by the keeping of smuggled goods and failure to comply with the conditions of the premises licence. The panel is very concerned that nobody appears to have total responsibility for the premises. For these reasons, there was no alternative but to revoke the premises licence.”
Mr Kuriakose has 21 days to appeal.