April 12, 2022 6.00 am This story is over 25 months old

Shopkeeper who bypassed electricity meter faces losing licence

He put customers at ‘serious risk’

A Scunthorpe shopkeeper who bypassed his electricity meter put his customers at serious risk, police say.

Mr Bharat Singh, one of the company directors of HA Stores on Henderson Avenue, repeatedly refused to let British Gas employees in and threatened to press his panic button. Police had to be called to defuse the situation.

North Lincolnshire Council is now looking to take away his alcohol licence for the shop. They are also reviewing Booze Master on Frodingham Road, where he is listed as the designated premises supervisor, and Luxe Salon on Doncaster Road, which he is linked to.

Police were called to HA Stores on Henderson Avenue after British Gas employees were refused entry to read the meter. Bharat Singh, one of the company directors, threatened to press the panic button if they entered, but now faces losing his alcohol licence for this and two other shops.

British Gas went to the shop last November as there were no readings since August 2021, but were refused entry. On a second visit, they suspected that the system had been bypassed and an engineer would be needed.

However, when employees returned shortly after with a warrant, Mr Singh refused them entry. A locksmith had to be called.

A report by Humberside Police to North Lincolnshire Council’s licensing committee says two police officers and later two more PCSOs had to be called to keep the peace. Mr Singh reportedly threatened to press the panic button when entry was gained.

When British Gas engineers eventually got inside, they confirmed that the meter had been bypassed, which would have put customers’ safety in jeopardy. Police want Mr Singh removed as licence holder for all stores he is connected to.

Licensing officer PC Grant Johnston’s statement says: “This incident had taken two police officers and two Police Community Support Officers away from their normal duties away from serving the community. This was waste of police time and resources due to Mr Singh declining to comply with the warrant and permit access.”

He adds: “It is the view of the Chief Constable that Mr Singh is highly likely to continue to undermine the licensing objectives in the future if he was to continue as the DPS, and for the company, or him, to continue running the other premises he is associated with.”

North Lincolnshire Council’s licensing sub-committee will convene on Tuesday, April 19 to decicde whether Mr Singh should be removed as licence holder for the three properties.