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Supermarket licence revoked

Published Thursday, 22 January 2015

A supermarket has had its licence revoked after trading standards and Her Majesty's Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officers found it was selling illicit alcohol.

Enfield Council's Licensing Sub-Committee revoked the premises licence for the Ordnance Supermarket in Ordnance Road, Enfield, on Wednesday 21 January following a review application.

The premises were visited on 15 October last year as part of a joint HMRC and EnfieldCouncil Trading Standards operation to check for alcohol that was counterfeit or had not had duty paid on it.

In all 21 bottles of wine and 39 bottles of spirits were seized by HMRC while Trading Standards also seized three bottles of vodka which on investigation also appeared to be non-duty paid as they had counterfeit back labels.

Another visit on 24 October by licensing officers found four licence conditions were being breached and four more non-duty paid bottles of vodka were found on display as well as wine similar to that seized by Revenue and Customs.  Counterfeit and non-duty paid products can harm the public because they don't know what is in the products and the health warnings may not be in English.

Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Environment and Community Safety, Cllr Chris Bond, said: "The licence holder of this establishment has had more than one chance but enough is enough.

"He was warned in writing in 2011 that we would take action to remove his licence after we found counterfeit alcohol on the premises, but not a lot of notice appears to have been taken of that very clear warning, and the licence holder has now paid the price.

"It's incredible to think that having seen the authorities seize illicit alcohol from your shop, the licence holder then thinks it's a good idea to restock his shelves with exactly the same products."

A further letter was sent to the premises in May 2014 setting out the new updated Mandatory License Conditions.  The letter included a further warning from Trading Standards.

The decision notice from Wednesday's meeting is as follows:

RECEIVED the application made by the Licensing Authority for the review of the Premises Licence held by Mr Baris Salman and Mr Ibrahim Korkmaz at the premises known as and situated at Ordnance Supermarket, 115 Ordnance Road, Enfield, EN3.

RESOLVED that

1.            In accordance with the principles of Section 100(a) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude the press and public from the meeting for this item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.

The Panel retired, with the legal representative and committee administrator, to consider the application further and then the meeting reconvened in public.

2.                The Chairman made the following statement:

"Having read and listened attentively to the written and oral representations of all parties, the Licensing Sub-Committee has resolved that the appropriate step to be taken to support the promotion of the licensing objectives is to revoke the licence of the Ordnance Supermarket.

The Licensing Sub-Committee believe that in particular the offences as raised not just go against the prevention of crime and disorder, but also run the risk of compromising public safety and that the Licensing Authority has made its case in full.

Although we've heard that additional conditions have been offered by the licence holder and the promise to attend training, the Licensing Sub-Committee was not satisfied that this would be sufficient and that existing conditions address all of the issues proposed by the Premises Licence Holder in making this offer.

We have further considered the representations made in support of the premises, but they fail to address the wrongdoing discovered.

The Licensing Sub-Committee has given weight to both the Council's Licensing Policy and DCMS guidance (especially sections 11.24, 11.26 and 11.27) whereby the matter of selling counterfeit and non-duty paid goods should be treated seriously, even as a first offence.

In this case, the Premises Licence Holder has been discovered on three occasions - initially in 2011, and more recently both on the day of the seizure of items as presented (15/10/14) but also within ten days of that same seizure, whereby goods displaying the same labels as seized were witnessed upon replenished shelves.

The Licensing Sub-Committee was concerned that the Premises Licence Holder had failed to act upon the advice given at the time of the first offence, and more recently on the guidance letter sent in May 2014.

The focus of our deliberations was the absence of any receipts to validate that the goods were purchased from a reputable supplier. This represents a breach of existing mandatory Conditions 6 and 7 of the licence, further spelt out in the guidance letter of May 2014.

The failure to produce such receipts to the Licensing Authority either at the time of seizure, in the aftermath of that seizure, or at any time between the subsequent visit (24/10/14) and the hearing of the case today and the explanations provided by the Premises Licence Holder, informed the decision taken by the Licensing Sub-Committee.

Furthermore, we were not persuaded by the arguments given by the Premises Licence Holder as regards to how and why stock identically labelled to that which was seized on 15/10/14 happened to plug the gaps on the shelves following the seizure.

The Licensing Sub-Committee view the fact that the licence holders have held a licence for more than ten years as an aggravating factor.

To avoid confusion, the Licensing Sub-Committee makes clear it did not consider any allegations relating to counterfeit tobacco products."

3.            The Licensing Sub-Committee resolved to revoke the licence.

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