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HomeBusinessHarrow newsagents previously caught with smuggled goods seeks fresh start

Harrow newsagents previously caught with smuggled goods seeks fresh start

A Harrow newsagents that was caught with smuggled goods and selling alcohol to street drinkers is looking to start up again.

The shop has mainly been selling fruit and vegetables since it lost its licence in 2019 for ‘consistently breaching conditions’.

The current owner of Day Fresh on South Parade Mollison Way in Harrow is giving it up and an application has been submitted to Harrow Council looking to restart a convenience store that sells alcohol.

The applicant, Piraveenth Kenkarajah, is a young relative of the previous owners who had their licence revoked.

Mathivathani and Nadarajah Kenkarajah were the named individuals responsible for Harrow Council taking away the alcohol licence in September 2019, following several visits by the Metropolitan Police and HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC).

The police alleged that the pair were guilty of contributing to antisocial behaviour in the area by “providing alcohol to street drinkers”, which breached the licence conditions.

A police document states: “[…] despite being advised of the identities of the street drinkers to whom alcohol should not be sold, the licence holder had continued to sell to those customers.”

HMRC were forced to confiscate alcohol and cigarettes from the premises on several occasions after the owners failed to provide VAT invoices for the goods.

A document submitted to the council’s licensing team by an HMRC officer raised concerns that some of the stock was being sold “illicitly”.

It states: “As no invoices were presented to me to explain where the east European beer was purchased from and my experience is that these are items regularly sold illicitly (having not had excise duty paid on them) I explained to Mrs Kenkarajah that I would be seizing this beer as I was not satisfied that duty had been paid on it.”

Mathivathani and Nadarajah Kenkarajah appealed the decision to revoke the licence but it was dismissed by the courts. Piraveenth Kenkarajah is now looking to open South Parade Express, a convenience store selling a range of groceries and other products, including alcohol, cigarettes and hot food, in place of Day Fresh.

As a condition, Piraveenth Kenkarajah has agreed that Mathivathani and Nadarajah Kenkarajah won’t have “any involvement whatsoever” in the running of the business. However, the licensing authority state that it appears that they have both still been working at the premises.

Two visits by the licensing team were carried out in August and September of this year. On one occasion, they claim Mathivathani Kenkarajah was behind the counter serving customers, whilst on a later visit they allege that Nadarajah Kenkarajah was the only member of staff present in the shop at the time.

Piraveenth Kenkarajah has also agreed to further conditions as part of the application, including all goods to be purchased from registered cash and carries, no alcohol or tobacco products to be bought from “unannounced sellers” calling at the premises, and invoices must be able to be produced to the police or local authority upon request.

A decision on whether or not to grant the licence will be made by Harrow Council’s licensing panel on October 19.