Licence revoked after illegal workers discovered working in Northampton shop

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A convenience store caught employing illegal immigrants by coppers has had its licence revoked - while a sister store has had its licence suspended for up to three months.

Officers tested the Nisa Local store in Broadmead Avenue in June after receiving tip-offs that underage girls had been sold tobacco. When underage test purchasers entered the store they were able to buy two cans of polish lager.

After the shop worker was reprimanded by police in the form of a £90 fixed penalty notice, and ID was requested, he showed the officers an email from the Immigration Service which outlined an ongoing visa application. When asked about this, he stated that he had no entitlement to work in the UK and that the owner of the premises was aware of this.

The store was visited again four days later, where officers found an Indian male ‘leaving abruptly’ to the bemusement of queuing customers. When police stopped him they discovered he had failed to be in contact with the Border Agency since 2013 and had no right to work in the UK. He was arrested and taken to the police station.

The same day saw another Nisa Local store in Birchfield Road, owned by the same family, visited by officers, where they discovered the same illegal worker from the other store four days earlier.

Requests for CCTV footage were not provided, leading to the police asking Northampton Borough Council’s licensing committee to review the store’s licence.

The hearing, which took place yesterday morning at The Guildhall, heard how the licence holder was in the process of selling the stores.

Duncan Craig, representing the licence holders, said: "What has happened has given my client cause to consider whether to continue with these stores, and they have decided to dispose of them.

"A sale has been agreed and is in extremely advanced stages, so on balance we do not believe the licences should be revoked or suspended."

But PC Chris Stevens, of Northamptonshire Police, said: “Revocation should be seriously considered where illegal working is uncovered even in the first instance. The police are asking for the revocation of this licence today because it is clear that the conditions that were introduced to the licence to prevent illegal working have not been adhered to.

“Similarly the conditions attached to the licence to prevent the sale of alcohol to children have also not been adhered to. It is also apparent that the licence holder has also taken no steps to remove either of the illegal workers in the premises when they were made aware that the first had been discovered and continued to allow both to work in premises owned by them or their spouse.”

Members of the committee decided to revoke the licence of the Broadmead Avenue store, and suspend the licence of the Birchfield Road store for a period of up to three months.

Conditions that would be applied upon it opening again include weekly checks on the CCTV system, a staff log book being implemented to record incidents and staff being on duty who can access and operate the CCTV.