Shop keeper caught red handed
A High Wycombe shop-owner has had his licence to sell alcohol revoked with immediate effect and has been ordered to remove all alcohol from his shop after Magistrates heard about a string of licensing offences.
Action taken by Wycombe District Council working in partnership with Thames Valley Police and local trading standards officers led to Mr Muthaya of NN Newsagents, 274 Desborough Road, High Wycombe dropping his appeal minutes before his court appearance at Wycombe Magistrates’ Court last week.
Evidence presented in court revealed that despite repeated warnings Mr Muthaya had committed a series of offences dating back to December 2017, just three months after he had been granted a licence to sell alcohol.
In December 2017 the council’s licensing team issued a warning for a beach of his licence. Within weeks of this warning trading standards officers found £2,000 worth of illegal tobacco products on the premises and they requested a review of the premises licence. During this review process police officers found evidence of underage alcohol sales all of which was brought to the attention of a licensing panel in August last year. After hearing all the evidence from Mr Muthaya and his legal representative, Wycombe District Council’s licensing committee agreed to revoke the premises licence for sale of alcohol.
Mr Muthaya appealed this decision, which meant he could continue to use his licence until the case went before the Magistrates’ Court. In January this year trading standards visited the premises again and once again found illegal tobacco in the shop, some of which was crudely hidden in the shop toilet room.
The day before the Magistrates’ Court hearing, police and WDC licensing officers visited the premises and found multiple breaches of the licence .
Wycombe District Council wrote to Mr Muthaya and his legal representatives on a number of occasions regarding the increasing costs of continuing his appeal and taking up Court time. It was only at the last minute at the door steps of the court, that he withdrew his appeal.
Mr Muthaya was ordered to pay £3,000 towards the council’s costs. He has offered to pay £100 per month. Wycombe District Council will be enforcing this separately.
Wycombe District Council’s Cabinet Member for Environment, Cllr Julia Adey, commented: “When businesses repeatedly ignore the conditions of their licence, we use our strong local partnership with the police and trading standards to take action and protect the public. In this case, the licensee only has himself to blame. If only he had listened to clear and repeated warnings and taken action, he would still have his licence.”