Preston shop’s alcohol bid rejected

Nasza Biedronka, New Hall Lane, Preston
Nasza Biedronka, New Hall Lane, Preston
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The owner of a convenience shop, stripped of its licence earlier this year, has failed in a bid for the store to sell alcohol once more.

Nasza Biedronka, in New Hall Lane, Preston, had its licence revoked by council chiefs in March, following claims of illicit tobacco being sold from the premises.

An application for a fresh licence was lodged with Town Hall bosses, but police and trading standards raised objections against the bid, describing it as “bogus”.

Applicant Abdullah Taha was represented by friend Mr Raof, who said Mr Taha became aware Nasza Biedronka was for sale in June.

He said: “This was what he described as his big break to make something of himself.”

He said Mr Taha had “imposed conditions on himself” including CCTV at the shop, and had renovated the business.

He said: “This is a new chapter for Mr Taha, and one which he should not be stripped of unfairly.”

Mr Taha said he didn’t know about the shop’s history.

Police reported seizing a bag containing illicit tobacco during a visit to the shop on August 4, and Mr Raof said they were “found hidden under the fridge” during a clean-out.

But licensing Sergeant Tony Bushell said a statement from the police officer said, as he was speaking with Mr Taha during the visit, he heard one of two bags being moved from the sales area and into the rear store.

He said: “This raised the suspicions of officers, who then looked into the bag and found it contained the tobacco.”

He said there was a “pattern” of the premises being taken over, “they are found to be trading illicit tobacco, and in order to circumvent the process there’s a change in ownership”.

He said: “This is yet another front to continue this activity.”

Nicholas McNamara, of Lancashire County Council Trading Standards, said: “We see this as a tissue of lies that has been put before you.”

Preston Council’s licensing committee refused the application.