Warning for Grangemouth shopkeeper who sold alcohol after licence expired

A Grangemouth shop keeper has been given a written warning for selling alcohol for more than a year after his licence had expired.

Picture Michael Gillen

Police Scotland had asked members of Falkirk licencing board for a review to examine whether owner Naeem Mirza was a 'fit and proper person' to hold the premises licence for Bowhouse Mini Market in the town.

When it met on Thursday (May 13), the board heard that Mr Mirza, who is also the designated premises manager, had failed to renew his personal licence when it expired in September 2019.

That meant the shop in Bowhouse Square was breaching a condition that had been imposed on it after two previous reviews - one in 2011 and one in 2012 - when two separate police operations found alcohol being sold to underage teenagers.

Although the endorsements on Mr Mirza's personal licence had expired after five years, the premises licence still had extra conditions attached to it.

One of these states that alcohol could not be sold at any time without a premises manager - with a full personal licence - in place.

Addressing the board on behalf of the Chief Constable, Sergeant Liam Livingston gave some background to the application for a review.

He said: "There is a regular police attendance at the Bowhouse Mini Market due to a large group of youths congregating at the shop in possession of alcohol and causing disorder.

"It's worthy of note that there is no evidence that this alcohol is supplied by the Bowhouse Mini Market."

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It was during a routine visit to the premises on February 3, 2021, a police officer realised that Mr Mirza's licence had expired in September 2019.

The offence was reported to the Procurator Fiscal, who gave Mr Mirza a warning.

Mr Mirza was represented by his agent, Peter Lawson, who told Falkirk Council's licensing board that it was a genuine error and and that it had been corrected as soon as it was pointed out.

Councillor Robert Bissett, deputy convener of the licensing board, said that there had been a breach of licence conditions but they did not find that it had reached the threshold that would make him "not a fit and proper person".

He added: "Nevertheless, the board wishes to emphasise the seriousness of the failure and the importance of renewing personal licences and undertaking development training."

At the meeting, the board members agreed that a written warning would be issued.

They also heard that the premises licence had been transferred to Mr Mirza's son Babar.

Mr Lawson added: "Having considered his position, an application has been made to transfer the licence on to the next generation.

"It is planned to carry out an extensive refurbishment of the premises and further discussions will take place with the licensing standards officer, which the aim of turning over a new page and address any ongoing issues they have in connection with crowds outside.”And he added: "A new start to these premises would probably not be a bad idea."

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