The premises licence for Bucuresti (formerly known as Bucharest) 490A Foleshill Road, Coventry has been revoked following a review hearing called for by Coventry Trading Standards.
The Licensing and Regulatory Sub-Committee heard:
On 5th December 2018 Trading Standards officers visited the premises with a tobacco sniffer dog. The person standing behind the counter was Mr Aziz Fatah (45) of Princess Street Coventry, the current Premises Licence Holder and Designated Premises Supervisor.
At the rear of the shop, inside a small storeroom, the sniffer dog indicated the presence of tobacco. Officers discovered in the corner that there were two shelving units cleverly hidden behind the door frame. These shelving units contained 276 packets of illicit cigarettes. These were a mixture of counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes. The illicit street value of these would have been approximately £1242 and £2760 if genuine.
On 16th January 2019 Trading Standards carried out a test purchase of cigarettes from this shop. The cigarettes purchased cost £5.00 and were called ‘L&M’. They have been confirmed as being illicit (smuggled - foreign labelled Polish cigarettes).
'On 26 January 2019 Trading Standards officers visited the shop and the sniffer dog indicated the presence of tobacco by a shelving unit which contained cans of pop and alcohol. After a while officers discovered that there was a secret compartment built behind the bottom of this shelving unit.
In total 88 packets of cigarettes were seized. These were a mixture of counterfeit and smuggled cigarettes. The illicit street value of these would have been approximately £396 and £880 if genuine.
The Council’s Licensing and Regulatory Sub-Committee, in reaching their decision noted statutory guidance states that certain criminal activity should be treated as being particularly serious, including smuggled tobacco.
Cllr Christine Thomas, Chair of the Licensing and Regulatory Committee, said: “The Sub Committee considered the explanations given by the licensee were both evasive, implausible, and unsupported by any evidence. The licensee had also failed to provide any assurances or details of any controls that he could put in place to prevent a recurrence of the reported incident.”
The Sub Committee considered that a suspension of the licence would not be appropriate owing to the fact that illicit cigarettes were found on two separate occasions within three weeks of the licensee accepting that he took over control of the premises.
The Sub Committee decided that as the licensee is also the DPS at the premises, it would be inappropriate for the purposes of upholding the licensing objective to simply terminate his position. As such, the Sub Committee concluded that only revocation of the premises licence would be appropriate and proportionate in the circumstances.”
There is a right of appeal in respect of this decision. Any appeal must be made within 21 days of receipt of this Decision Notice.