Lincoln
February 2, 2021 4.30 pm

Lincoln shop owner risks licence after police seizures

Bottles without duty stamps and prescription medicines taken

A Lincoln store owner faces losing his premises licence after police seized illegal products, including medicines which required a prescription, unpriced alcohol and spirits without UK duty stamps.

City of Lincoln Council’s licensing sub-committee will decide the fate of Saman Osman Ali’s licence for Zabka on Portland Street next Thursday (February 11).

Lincolnshire Police chiefs say the business “conducted unauthorised licensable activity” .

In a series of reports to the council, the force outlines a visit to the premises on December 9, 2020, with officers from the authority’s Licensing and Environmental Health teams, Home Office Immigration and Trading Standards.

There they found, and seized;

  • Medicine without English on the original packaging, some of which would need prescriptions
  • Certain cans of beer being offered for sale unpriced
  • Bottles of spirits not displaying a UK duty stamp – and some with stamps cut from labels of other bottles, including Smirnoff – on sale and in storage
  • Five bottles of Vodka which created “a number of concerning factors regarding the safety of the product” despite having UK Duty stamps

Some of the medicines on display, including some requiring prescriptions. | Photo: Lincolnshire Police

A statement from Police Constable Gina McConville, who works in the Licensing Department, said: “I have no doubt that I have seized non-duty paid, smuggled items and I have considerable concerns that one of the products may be unsafe and smuggled.

“All of which would have been bought for a price that would have been so low it should have aroused suspicions and very likely from a supplier without an Alcohol Whole Registration Scheme (AWRS) number which is an offence it itself.

“It should have been seen as an indicator to strongly suspect that the products weren’t legitimate and checks should have been made, as part of being a responsible retailer protecting and promoting the licensing objectives.”

When confronted about the products Mr Ali claimed some of the products were for personal use, saying he “got it from a lorry driver” and they were being stored at the shop, said police reports.

Some of the sprits on display. | Photo: Lincolnshire Police

PC McConville said the statement indicated “that he knew it was smuggled, which was why he wasn’t going to sell it, but he thought it was fine to consume himself.”

Invoices requested from Mr Ali for products found which had been seen before “in shops where they take in stolen goods shoplifted from other shops in lieu of other goods or cash” had not been provided by the time of the statement.

The statement from the force concludes Mr Ali “has actively undermined the licensing objectives, for his own gain at the detriment of the local community”.

“Lincolnshire Police has no confidence that anything can be put in place to stop this happening in future as the actions fundamentally lie with the Premises Licence Holder actively committing crime,” it said.

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