In accordance with Section 51 of the Licensing Act 2003, the Council has received an application from Kent Police, as a responsible authority, for a review of the existing premises licence in respect of Kubus Convenience, 88 High Street, Chatham, Kent ME4 4DS.
The Senior Licensing and Enforcement Officer advised the Panel that, in accordance with Section 51 of the Licensing Act 2003, the Council had received an application for review from Kent Police as a responsible authority in respect of the existing Premises Licence for Kubus Convenience, 88 High Street, Chatham, Kent ME4 4DS
The grounds for the review (as detailed in the review application on page 36 of the main agenda) related to three of the four licensing objectives:
• The prevention of crime and disorder
• Public safety
• The prevention of public nuisance
The application had been correctly advertised for the required timescale by placing notices at the premises, Council contact points and on the Council’s website in accordance with regulations made under the Licensing Act 2003. Also in accordance with the legislation, notice of the application (and the application itself) was served on the relevant parties for the licensed premises along with the other responsible authorities.
Following the advertising of the review application, a representation supporting the review had been received from Medway Council’s Public Health Directorate, as a responsible authority.
The following documents were included in the main agenda for the Panel’s consideration: -
• Appendix A – pages 27 – 30: A copy of the current premises licence.
• Appendix B – page 31: A copy of a plan showing the location of the premises
• Appendix C – pages 33 – 48: A copy of the Application for Review
• Appendix D – pages 49 – 51: A copy of the representation from Public Health.
A supplementary agenda containing a witness statement submitted by Kent Police was circulated prior to the hearing.
The Panel’s attention was drawn to the grounds for the review in relation to the licensing objectives of the Licensing Act 2003 and also to paragraph 3 of the committee report - Advice and analysis on determination of review application.
A representative of Kent Police spoke in support of their application for a review and referred to visits to the premises undertaken by officers of Kent Police on 5 June and 29 July 2015. On the second visit, officers of Medway Council and HM Revenues and Customs (HMRC) were also in attendance.
During the visit on 5 June 2015, the Licensee was observed selling non-duty paid cigarettes from a carrier bag to members of the public and was issued with a verbal warning. The brands of these cigarettes were not available at wholesalers.
During the visit on 29 July 2015, alcohol over 5.5% ABV was found on display at the premises in breach of the licensing conditions. The Licensee had stated that Council officers had advised him he could sell these items but it was subsequently confirmed that the Council had issued a warning to him for selling the same brand in April 2015. The condition in relation to 5.5% AVB had been attached to the licence because the premises were located in an area with a long history of problems with street drinkers. During the visit on 29 July, a quantity of non-duty paid cigarettes was also found in a large black sack.
The Licensee had been asked to provide CCTV footage but had been unable to download the images which were lost.
The representative from Public Health spoke in support of the review application and stated that there was a significant amount of evidence to link the illicit supply of cigarettes with under age smoking.
The Licensee had no questions for the Police or Public Health representatives. In response to a question from a Panel Member, the Police representative said that HMRC had confirmed that no duty had been paid on the cigarettes, due to the labelling and branding.
The Licensee then put forward his response to the review application. He stated that the cigarettes belonged to member of staff who no longer worked at the shop. He apologised for breaching the licence condition in relation to 5.5% AVB alcohol. He explained that the order had been for beer at 5.5% AVB or below but the wrong item had been delivered by the cash and carry.
The Police representative questioned the Licensee on the 4 Licensing Objectives which he correctly identified. He added that he maintained a refusals book and ensured that his staff were trained. He had instructed his staff not to sell alcohol on the limited occasions when he was at the cash and carry and not at the premises. In response to questions regarding the sale of alcohol above 5.5% AVB, the Licensee said that a Licensing Officer had previously told him to remove it from the shelves but it had mistakenly been brought back from the cellar by a member of staff and returned to the shelves. He explained that, as it had only been 0.1% above the 5.5% limit, he had wrongly thought it was not a serious matter but acknowledged that this was wrong and assured the Panel that there would be no mistakes in the future.
The Panel questioned the Licensee further regarding the issues raised by the Police and he said that he regularly checked his stock. He confirmed that the CCTV equipment at the premises was now in working order and that he kept recordings for a period of 2 months. In relation to the non-duty paid cigarettes he said that the member of staff to whom they belonged may have been trying to sell them or give them as presents. He added that he worked long hours and had many tasks to fulfil.
The Chairman asked all parties to sum up and the Police representative said that there had been a failure to promote three of the four Licensing Objectives. It was the Police’s view that, in view of the serious breaches of the licence conditions, revocation of the licence would be an appropriate course of action. The representative from Public Health referred to the history of breaches at the premises and the fact that the Licensee had wrongly stated that Council officers had said that he could sell alcohol above 5.5% AVB. In summing up, the Licensee maintained that he had not lied.
The Panel had considered the evidence and submissions from the representatives of Kent Police and Public Health and from the Licensee.
As three of the four Licensing Objectives were not being met and in view of the record of previous warnings issued for breaches of the conditions of the licence, the Panel determined that the Premises Licence for Kubus Convenience, 88 High Street, Chatham, Kent, ME4 4DS be revoked from the date of notification.