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Council reviews shop’s alcohol licence following immigration offences

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Council reviews shop’s alcohol licence following immigration offences 10th October 2018

Cheltenham Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee reviewed the alcohol licence of St James Store in St James Street, Cheltenham in hearing on Thursday 20 September. 

The council applied to review the licence after Home Office immigration officials inspected the premises and found a person living and allegedly working there who did not have the right to work in this country.

The council’s licensing sub-committee met in light of the incident to determine what action should be taken in relation to the premises licence. Licensed premises are required to operate in a way that promotes the licensing objectives, one of which is to prevent crime and disorder at the premises.

The licence holder and designated premises supervisor, Mr Jeyathasan Navaratnam, also attended the meeting.
 
Having considered the evidence provided by licensing officers, immigration officers and the licence holder, the sub-committee felt that Mr Navaratnam had acted with poor judgement and had compromised the licensing objectives, specifically the prevention of crime and disorder. The sub-committee felt that this is a very serious matter and that it was appropriate to remove Mr Navaratnam as the designated premises supervisor. The role of the designated premises supervisor is to maintain day to day management of the premises and prevent crime and disorder, which the committee members felt he had failed to do. He now has three months to arrange for a suitable replacement to be put in place or he will no longer be able to sell alcohol at these premises.

In addition, the sub-committee imposed two new conditions on the licence requiring the licence holder to carry out more detailed right-to-work checks on all employees and to keep proper records. Officers will continue to carry out regular inspections to ensure the conditions are being met.

Licensing officer for Cheltenham Borough Council, Philip Cooper, says: “The council and other responsible authorities will always look at reviewing the licence of any premises that fails to comply with its statutory obligations. In this case the sub-committee members felt that the designated premises supervisor had failed in his duty to prevent crime and disorder on the premises and he has therefore been removed.”

Chair of the sub-committee, Councillor Roger Whyborn, continued: “The sale of alcohol in Cheltenham is a very important activity, and the public need to feel confident that it is being carried out responsibly, and in a way that does not encourage or enable crime to take place.

“Allowing persons to work who may not have permission is very serious and potentially carries very heavy penalties, so the committee took the unanimous view that it was vital to uphold the licensing objective of preventing crime and disorder.”

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