Wisbech Mini Market licensing dispute resolved

The Wisbech Market shop in Church Terrace Wisbech

The Wisbech Market shop in Church Terrace Wisbech - Credit: Archant

A LONG-RUNNING licensing dispute involving a Wisbech store found to have sold fake alcohol has finally been resolved.

Wisbech Mini Market had its licence revoked in April 2012 by Fenland District Council’s licensing committee after Trading Standards called for a review of the licence when officers had caught it selling counterfeit vodka and other non-duty paid spirits.

Since then, however, the store has been able to continue trading pending the result of its appeal against the committee’s decision.

Now, after a series of legal hearings held over the past 10 months, it has been allowed to keep its licence following new owners taking over the business and the appointment of a new Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS).

All the parties involved have recognised that the original decision to revoke the licence was fully justified.

Sgt Dave Bax, licensing officer for Fenland, said: ““We objected to the store retaining its licence because we had serious concerns about the way it was being run and there was clear evidence of illegal trading there.

“At that time there was every justification for the revocation of the licence. We sincerely hope that Mr Hassan will take control of the issues and ensure they are not repeated.

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“We will continue to monitor all premises in the district to ensure the licensing objectives are upheld.”

Jon Payne, of specialist licensing law firm Horsey Lightly Fynn, the lawyer for Wisbech Mini Market, said: “The sale of counterfeit alcohol is a very serious matter and one that the store now fights very hard to combat.

“The new management has introduced a number of fresh measures to ensure that any alcohol purchased from suppliers is genuine.

“It is hoped that other businesses will learn from this example and the shop wants to work closely with the council to set an example on how to run a business that protects the public from this type of product.”

Councillor Kay Mayor, chairman of Fenland District Council’s licensing committee, said: “We listened very carefully to all the evidence regarding Mr Hassan’s application and after much debate we agreed to allow it.

“We have made it very clear that he will have to uphold all the conditions on the licence. A further review can of course be called for if any of those conditions are not met.”

At the time the licence was revoked, the store’s owner and DPS was Soran Hussein.

In October 2012 Wisbech Mini Market Ltd failed in an attempt to replace him with one if its directors, Alan Baban after police objected that he would just be a “front person” and that Mr Hussein would remain in effective control.

The appointment of Mr Hassan was approved by the licensing committee last month.