January 3, 2020 4.02 pm This story is over 20 months old

Crime fears behind further alcohol licence denial at Spalding shop

This is the fifth application police have objected to

Lincolnshire Police have again objected to the transfer of an alcohol licence to a man who went on the run to Iraq for five years after facing charges of trademark breaches and money laundering.

Aram Salar applied to take the premises licence for the Delicja supermarket, off Westlode Street, in Spalding, off the hands of Mohammad Salih Attuf.

Police objected to the move November 2019 and the application was rejected.

The week after the decision, Delicja’s premises licence was revoked after it paid an illegal worker with no right to work in the UK in food, drink, and money. It was also found to be selling beer without a display price and 763 boxes of foreign medicine without any English labelling.

In addition, during a test purchase in August, the shop sold alcohol to a child under the age of 18.

Mr Salar has now made another application, however, Lincolnshire Police officers have reiterated their fears the move would undermine the crime prevention objective.

The force has now objected to a total of five times to similar application for the premises due to their concerns of criminal involvement.

In their statement against the application, they said: “Mr Salar has a history that is concerning to Lincolnshire Police, so much so that along with the history of Spalding and its issue surrounding illegal tobacco sales, we believe that the exceptional circumstances apply and that granting the application would undermine the crime prevention licensing objective.”

The evidence presented by police reiterated Mr Salar’s involvement in events in 2011, which saw him “flee” to Iraq and avoid a court case, as well as issues with a three-month “transition” period between his purchase of the shop and the transfer application.

Evidence from local newspapers and Trading Standards show a joint enforcement visit at Istanbul Market in July 2011 found non-duty paid and foreign tobacco.

At the time Mr Salar, described as the owner, denied the items were his and said he had rented the shop from the premises licence holder.

He said he had been running the business for a month, having previously owned a shop in Leicester.

In February 2012, further investigations found foreign labelled cigarettes and tobacco under the floorboards of his home address – leading to the arrest of Mr Salar and another.

However, in October 2012, he failed to attend a court date and a warrant was issued.

Five years later, he was arrested when re-entering the country in June 2017.

However, the council at that point could offer no evidence due to witnesses having left the council’s employment and other “difficulties”.

Mr Salar, who at that time gave the court an address in Bradford, West Yorkshire, denied the charges and was instead given a two month jail sentence for failing to surrender to custody.

During his previous application, solicitor Victoria Cartmell, from Forrest’s Solicitors, said she understood the historical issues, but argued Mr Salar had not had a relevant conviction with regard to illicit cigarettes.

She said that he had “conducted himself without issue” since then.

She accused police of objecting to Kurdish applications as “knee-jerk” reactions, something strenuously denied by licensing officers.

She told councillors he had left due to family problems and a dispute with the owner of the premises.

She said that since that time he had acquired his personal license and run a shop in Harlow, London, for a year until April of this year.

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