Shop keeper's hefty pay-out for council licensing breaches

A shop keeper has been successfully prosecuted by Watford Borough Council after a multi-agency investigation into licensing breaches at his supermarket.

Published: Wednesday, 13th December 2017

This follows a successful prosecution by Trading Standards for the sale of illegal cigarettes and Watford Borough Council also having to prohibit use of the accommodation above one of his other shops due to it risking occupants’ safety.

Despite initially denying the licensing breaches, Amrik Singh Arora, 47, of Bodicea Mews, Hounslow, pleaded guilty to them at St Albans Magistrates Court on Wednesday 29 November. He accepted responsibility for multiple licensing breaches, including selling high-strength cider and failing to keep a log book of sale refusals at Watford Supermarket in 43-45 Market Street. Arora was ordered to pay £1,500 in fines, £2,500 in costs and a £30 victim surcharge.

Deputy Mayor Cllr Peter Taylor, who oversees the council's partnership working, said: "Our town centre is a safe and family-friendly place that everyone can enjoy. We work with the police, Hertfordshire County Council, town centre businesses and a range of other organisations to ensure it is kept that way. The rules we enforce ensure people are kept safe and well. This business owner clearly has little regard for them. It is unfair on the people in the town as well as the vast majority of our local businesses who are all responsible and operate legally. We will enforce where necessary, making sure our residents are safe and there is a level playing field for businesses."

The punishment follows a separate prosecution by Trading Standards officers from Hertfordshire County Council, who used sniffer dogs to find 571 packets of illegal cigarettes hidden in Watford Supermarket. Arora was ordered to pay £2,445 in fines and costs after pleading guilty to the offence on Wednesday 18 October at St Albans Magistrates Court. The discovery of the cigarettes in February came just a month before Watford Borough Council found his super strength alcohol supplies – and other licensing breaches.

In a catalogue of breaches this year Watford Borough Council has also had to ban Arora from allowing people to live on the first and second floors above his other shop, Arora Food & Wine, The Parade, Watford. Despite legal notices requiring him to upgrade the property he failed to act on serious issues relating to fire safety, excess cold and a lack of kitchen and bathroom facilities which placed the tenants at serious risk.  

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