An Ealing business has had its licence suspended for three months after it was caught ‘red handed’ selling illicit products.
Council officers discovered on two separate occasions over a three-year period that Allenby New off licence in Southall was concealing thousands of counterfeit cigarettes, nearly a kilo of smuggled rolling tobacco and hundreds of grams of Indian tobacco.
Licence holder Jugmohan Singh was said to have hidden products behind bags of charcoal, in plastic bags around the back of the shop and even handed over fraudulent cigarettes to officers straight from his pockets on one occasion.
Over the two separate visits council officer Bob Dear said that the premises were warned about the consequences of concealing illicit goods from the authorities however despite being told that they would receive a final warning if they surrendered them, they failed to do so.
This led to a review of the shop’s licence by Councillors Anthony Kelly, Julian Gallant and Sanjai Kohli. After recounting his findings, which equalled around £1225 in unpaid duty, Mr Dear recommended that the licence of the premises be revoked.
In response, Mr Singh’s representative Richard Davenport was candid, telling the panel: “It is not the most serious of breaches,” before adding: “The licence holder realises what he’s done is absolutely stupid.”
Mr Davenport said that his client “should have been more responsible in the way that he conducted his business” and should be “rightly punished for that.” However, he added that he did not believe a full revocation of the licence was “proportionate.”
Instead, he proposed that the licence be suspended for three months and recommended that the designated premises supervisor should be changed so that his client could have someone keeping an eye on him.
He continued: “ [Mr Singh] accepts his wrongdoing so he’s absolutely terrified at the prospect of losing his drinks licence. It will seriously affect his business.” Despite how upfront the licence holder had been, in his closing remarks Mr Dear said he was unmoved in his opinion that the licence should be revoked.
After a brief period of consideration, the panel passed down their decision. Reading out its conclusion Cllr Kelly said that the council appreciated “the premises licence holder admitting complete fault.”
The premises licence was suspended for three months and was ordered to find a new supervisor, while the council strongly recommended that Mr Singh receive more training.