Large quantity of illicit items found at Southall off-licenceMon 20 Nov 2023
Ealing Council’s sub-licensing committee was presented with evidence revealing the storage of illegal tobacco stored in printers, Hula Hoop boxes, and behind the counter at Mann Food & Wine, 16 King Street, Southall.
In addition to discovering illicit tobacco products, such as cigarettes and rolling tobacco, officers found over 1,000 prescription drugs, including Viagra, nearly 400 oversized vapes, Nitrous Oxide canisters, and unmarked poppy powder. The illegal inventory amounted to £3,850 in unpaid duty.
An inspection team made the discoveries during an inspection in February 2023. Officer Bob Dear gave the license holder, Gurjeet Singh Khurana, an opportunity to disclose the whereabouts of all illicit items to avoid a license review.
Mr. Khurana declined the offer and later during the license review meeting, he claimed ignorance of the illegal products' present and attributed responsibility to his staff.
He stated that the adjoining Post Office demanded his full attention. Mr. Dear contested this by pointing out that the building's floor plan allowed him to witness illicit activities from his work area.
Representing Mr. Khurana at the meeting, Surendra Panchal insisted that the staff responsible had been fired. He argued that with additional training, his client would be better equipped to manage the shop.
Cllr Jammu directly questioned Mr. Khurana, stating, "As the license holder, is it not your responsibility to know what is in your shops?"
Mr Dear contended that given the substantial quantity of illicit items, it seemed implausible that Mr. Khurana was unaware of what was going on. He stated that "Mr. Khurana knew exactly what he was doing."
In their concluding remarks, the committee said that that they did not find it credible for a business owner to be unaware that illicit substances were being concealed and sold on their premises.
The committee were deeply concerned by the substantial quantities of illicit products and the presence of prescription medicines. They found it posed a "severe danger to the community" and decided to revoke the license under the circumstances.
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