Alcohol licence revoked at Northampton cornershop caught with illegal worker in back shed

Far Cotton Food & Wine has had their license to sell alcohol revoked.
Far Cotton Food & Wine has had their license to sell alcohol revoked.

A Northampton cornershop had its licence to sell alcohol revoked after it was caught employing a man working in the country illegally.

Far Cotton Food & Wine, in St Leonards Road, also broke its alcohol licence conditions after binning its CCTV recordings after only five days - when they were supposed to be kept for a month.

The borough council revoked the shop’s licence, ruling the owners “did not promote the licensing objective of preventing crime and disorder” at a hearing on September 25.

This is the second time Far Cotton Food & Wine have been caught with undocumented workers after an incident in 2016, which earned staff at the store temporary licence suspensions.

Police visited the shop in June this year when the licensing department complained they could not obtain CCTV from the premises.

But when they introduced themselves as officers to the cashier, they spotted a man disappearing from view out the back of the shop.

They located him in a shed in the back alley and found he was a Sri Lankan national with no entitlement to work in the UK. He was subsequently arrested.

A report prepared ahead of the shop’s licensing hearing reads: “The police have no confidence that there will be any adherence to future conditions.

“The proximity of this second [discovery of illegal workers] in relation to the first is a testament to a comprehensive failure to learn by the mistakes of the past.”

The shop was also found to have deleted their CCTV footage after only four days instead of one month - and it took four attempts to get ahold of any footage. The hearing accepted this was not deliberate but was still “indicative of poor management”.

It means the store will be barred from selling alcohol in the interests of “upholding the licensing agreement” and preventing “public harm.”

Far Cotton Food & Wine will have 21 days to appeal against the decision.