Friday, 24 December 2010

Take-away owner pays the price for ignoring licensing rules

A take-away owner is now facing a £3,000 bill after ignoring advice and refusing to get a premises licence to sell hot food late at night at his property.

Mr Maqsood Hussain, the owner of Waj’s, 94 Leeds Road, Allerton Bywater, ignored several warnings from council entertainment licensing enforcement officers about the need to obtain a premises licence or temporary event notice to sell hot food after 11pm, or he should cease all licensable activities.

At Leeds Magistrates’ Court on Thursday 23 December, Mr Hussain pleaded guilty to providing hot refreshment without a licence. He received a 12 month conditional discharge, and was ordered to pay £3,140 costs.

John Mulcahy, head of licensing and registration for Leeds City Council said:
“It is very important that take-aways and other businesses within the Leeds area are aware of the various licenses they need for their premises if they choose to undertake certain activities.

“In this case the owner was warned on numerous occasions as to how he could rectify the situation, but failed to listen.

“This conviction shows how important it is for businesses to have the right licences for their premises.”

In November 2009 a warning letter was sent to Mr Hussain, by council licensing enforcement officers advising that he must stop such activities until a licence was in place. A blank premises licence application pack was also included with the letter.

Mr Hussain submitted an application requesting a premises licence to provide late night refreshment Sunday to Thursday until midnight, and 1am on Friday and Saturdays. The council’s licensing sub-committee granted the premises licence but with the restricted hours of Monday to Saturday until 11.30pm, in line with the premises current planning permission.

Between March 2010 and July 2010 licensing enforcement officers attended the premises and conducted undercover test purchases on three different occasions. After each occasion officers wrote warning letters to Mr Hussain reminding him of the current licensing hours and advising him to cease providing late night refreshment after 11.30pm. Despite numerous attempts to arrange an interview with Mr Hussain he did not attend to have questions put to him by licensing enforcement officers.

The magistrates in making their decision thought that Mr Hussain had been given every opportunity to comply with the legislation. He had been given plenty of warning and the taxpayers and council should be able to fully recoup their costs.

Notes to editors:
Since the 24 November 2005 the provision of late night refreshment between the hours of 11pm and 5am is a licensable activity under the Licensing Act 2003. A person guilty of an offence of providing unauthorised late night refreshment is liable, on summary conviction, to imprisonment for a term not exceeding six months or to a fine not exceeding £20,000, or to both.

For media enquiries, please contact:
Emma Whittell, Leeds City Council press office, on (0113) 2474713