Police have leapt to action after a Grimsby shop owner accused of trying to “frustrate the licensing process” withdrew an application to transfer his premises licence to his wife at the eleventh hour.
North East Lincolnshire Council’s licensing authority had been due to examine a request by Jeyathevi Rameshkumar to transfer the premises license for Cartergate News and Wine from her husband Thambiah, but the application was withdrawn on Wednesday.
Humberside Police, who already believed the application was an attempt to circumvent their own previous review application after investigations found he was selling stolen goods including Poundland tuna, have already submitted a new application to review the premises, a council spokesman has confirmed.
Consultation on the application will end on March 5, 2021 and a committee hearing will be held in due course afterwards.
Documents due before the council on Thursday included a statement from the licensing team’s PC Garry Stuart Chapman who said that in December 2020, officers “became aware that the shop was potentially purchasing stolen food items from a known male to sell in the shop”.
Evidence said the man, who is currently on bail charged with a number of offences, would enter Cartergate with a “full shopping bag” but would leave “moments later with the same bag looking less full or empty”.
Items found included multipacks of tuna and jars of coffee, some of which were found on the shop’s shelves.
When confronted, Mr Rameshkuma admitted buying the products and putting them on the store’s shelves. He also admitted that he knew the seller was a “thief”.
Officers said Mr Rameshkuma attended the police station on January 7 to and asked the officer if police would be reviewing the licence and was told papers were being prepared.
However, on the day the papers were submitted North East Lincolnshire also informed Humberside Police it would be rejected, as two applications had been received the day before to transfer the license and change the premises supervisor to Mrs Rameshkumar.
“It is believed the two applications have been made as a result of knowing Humberside Police would apply for a review and this would delay or potentially prevent this from happening,” said the report.
“By transferring the premise licence between husband and wife there will be no significant change in how this business operates now and has operated for a number of years.
“It is extremely likely the premises will continue to engage in behaviour likely to undermine the licensing objectives.”
In August 2019, Mr Thambiah was warned he could lose his livelihood if he appeared before licensing again.
It followed an assault at the shop in which a customer was hit with a hammer by a staff member.
Subsequent visits discovered an ornamental sword and a plastic cricket bat behind the counter.
He was also reported to have put CCTV images up of alleged young shoplifters, with labels such as “human trash”, “human scum” and “cancers of society”, sometimes with names, despite police requests not to do so
Previous reviews were made after reports revealed alcohol had been bought from the shop by underage or drunk street drinkers.
In 2009, licensing members tried to revoke the licence after feeling children’s lives had been put at risk, however, this was overturned at appeal.
Other issues include a knife incident and anti-social behaviour caused by drunk youths.