Review of a premises licence in respect of: Mila, 102-104 Belmont Road, Hereford, HR2 7JS called by West Mercia Police - Licensing Act 2003
To consider an application for a review of a premises licence in respect of: ‘mila, 102-104 Belmont Road, Hereford, HR2 7JS called by West Mercia Police.
Members of the licensing sub-committee from the council’s planning and regulatory committee considered the above application, full details of which appeared before the Members in their agenda, the background papers and the supplement published on 6 March 2019.
Prior to making their decision the members heard from Fred Spriggs, Licensing Officer and Sergeant Duncan Reynolds, West Mercia Police. The committee also heard from June Clarke, the agent representing Mr Hersh Mohammad
West Mercia Police outlined their representation in connection with the review which included:
· Mila is a small Polish convenience store situated on Belmont Road.
· The premises had a history of criminal activity and breaching the conditions of the premises licence which had resulted in previous reviews of the licence.
· It was recognised that the current operator at the premises was not connected to the previous reviews of these premises.
· On 12 December 2018 at 1245 hours an intelligence led search of the premises was undertaken by HMRC.
· As a result of this search, 32 bottles of non duty paid bottles of vodka were seized and this is subject to a separate investigation.
· Under the Licensing Act 2003 and the statutory Section 182 Guidance, this is a serious matter and revocation even at the first instance should be considered by the sub-committee.
· Mr Hersh Mohammad was not the premises licence holder at the time of the search but the police have been informed that he was the manager of the premises. As such Mr Hersh Mohammad should have or would have knowledge of the alcohol on the premises.
· It was noted that Mr Hersh Mohammad purchased the premises on 23 November 2018.
It was clarified that the premises licence had been surrendered on 5 February 2019 and on 6 February 2019, a request to transfer the premises licence to Mr Hersh Mohammad. On the transfer form, the box that the transfer take place with immediate effect had been ticked and therefore Mr Hersh Mohammad was the current premises licence holder.
The sub committee then heard from Ms June Clarke, the agent for the applicant who explained:
· Mr Hersh Mohammad had been in the United Kingdom for the last 17 years. He had worked for 16 years in the same factory in Blackburn. Mr Mohammad had an impeccable record.
· Mr Mohammad had worked in the Mila store for the last eight months and had no managerial duties and was not responsible for purchasing stock.
· Mr Hardi Mohammad had asked Mr Hersh Mohammad whether he wished to purchase the shop.
· Mr Hersh Mohammad had purchased the premises for £10k on 23 November 2018.
· Three weeks after purchasing the premises, HMRC had searched the premises and had found the 32 bottles of non duty paid vodka. Mr Hersh Mohammad had no knowledge that this alcohol was non duty paid.
· All of the stock in the premises is now purchased online so there is now a clear record of where it had been purchased from.
· Mr Hersh Mohammad fully understands his responsibilities under the licensing objectives and he is fully compliant with the conditions on the licence
· It would be unfair to penalise Mr Hersh Mohammad for the alleged activities of the previous premises licence holder.
Following questions, it was confirmed:
· On 20 October 2018, Mr Hersh Mohammad was just working at Mila and was not the manager.
· Mr Hersh Mohammad did not know that the vodka was illicit. He was aware that the vodka was in the shop.
· Mr Hersh Mohammad had been legally represented when he had purchased the property.
· Mr Hersh Mohammad had purchased the premises on good faith and had not checked the stock prior to the completion of the purchase.
· The HMRC had explained to Mr Hersh Mohammad that the alcohol labelling needed to state that UK duty had been paid.
· 23 November 2018 was the last date that Mr Hardi Mohammad had been involved with the premises.
· Mr Hersh Mohammad disputed that he had told the police that he was the manager of Mila in October 2018.
· Mr Hersh Mohammad had held a personal licence since approximately August 2018.
· The search on 12 December 2018 had consisted of six officers from HMRC and the police were not involved.
· The details of the police statement provided as part of the agenda papers had come from the Innkeeper system and would have been inputted by the police officer based on the information provided the person who had been spoken to at the time of their visit.
The committee have carefully considered all the representations, reports and evidence before them today. They have had regard to their duties under S4 of the Licensing Act and considered guidance issued under s182 of the Licensing Act 2003 and Herefordshire’s statement of licensing policy.
The sub committee’s decision following a review of premises licence was to revoke the licence.
The sub-committee had taken into account all the statements from the parties present. The sub committee had taken into account the history of the premises and the failure to promote the licensing objectives particularly the crime and disorder objective. There were discrepancies between the accounts of police and the premises licence holder but the sub committee found the police statement to be detailed and credible, The sub-committee had regard to Sections 11.27 and 11.28 of the S182 guidance which stated that revocation should be considered at the first instance in these circumstances and in light of the fact that this was not the first instance for these premises considered that revocation was appropriate and proportionate.
- Committe Report Review Mila 20.02.19, item 47. PDF 127 KB
- Appendix 1 - Application for the review of the premises licence, item 47. PDF 1008 KB
- Appendix 2 - Current Premises Licence, item 47. PDF 128 KB
- Appendix 3 - Additional papers from West Mercia Police, item 47. PDF 101 KB
- Supplement - Information from applicant, item 47. PDF 7 MB