Burnley off-licence fails in appeal to sell alcohol

Tobacco seized from Drinks Express
Tobacco seized from Drinks Express
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A Burnley off-licence in which a Trading Standards officer was assaulted has lost its appeal to try and win back its licence to sell alcohol.

The licence holder of Drinks Express, Colne Road, Khalid Parvez, had ignored his responsibilities to prevent crime and disorder by repeatedly possessing for sale illegal tobacco and counterfeit alcohol, Burnley Magistrates' Court heard.

This had continued since 2010, despite repeated enforcement activity from Trading Standards.

Trading Standards officers had made five separate test purchases for illegal tobacco, and three separate seizures of illegal tobacco, counterfeit spirits and non-duty paid spirits. In 2014, a Trading Standards officer who was attempting to remove illegal products from the store was assaulted on the premises.

In November 2016 a Pakistani man was found to be illegally working at the store by a Home Office Immigration Team. He was arrested and a £20,000 civil penalty was issued.

In October 2017 Trading Standards applied to Burnley Borough Council's Licensing Sub Committee to review the store's licence to sell alcohol and ask for it to be revoked.

This application was supported by police and the Home Office (Immigration). The licensing committee agreed and the licence was revoked on 20 December 2017. Since then a lengthy appeal process has taken place which allowed the store to continue to sell alcohol until the decision of the magistrates to reject the appeal.

Coun. Lian Pate, Burnley Council executive member for community services, said: "I'm extremely pleased that the magistrates have supported the council's licensing committee's decision to take the licence away from a person who obviously was not fit to hold one.

"We want to make our communities safer and better places to live, and we'll continue to work with partners such as the police and Trading Standards to ensure the crackdown on illegal activity like this continues."

Rick Wilson, principal officer for Lancashire Trading Standards said: "Selling alcohol is a privilege, not a right. It demands in return that businesses trade responsibly, in accordance with their licence conditions and the law. In other words, premise license holders must show themselves to be fit and suitable to hold a licence.

"Drinks Express, on the other hand, wanted to have its cake and eat it. It wanted all the benefits that come with selling alcohol while simultaneously engaging in criminal activity."

Albert Atkinson, deputy leader of Lancashire County Council with responsibility for Trading Standards, said: "Our Trading Standards team work hard to keep people in Lancashire safe from harm, and clamping down on shops that sell illegal tobacco is an important part of this.

"We hope that this decision will send a strong message to other business owners who think that they can get away with breaking the law. We can and will take action, and you could lose your alcohol licence."