RECEIVED the application made by Trading Standards for a review of the Premises Licence (LN/201700925) held by Mr Iulian Frasinescu at the premises known as and situated at Carpathina, 337 Bowes Road, London, N11 1BA.
1. The introduction by Charlotte Palmer, Senior Licensing Enforcement Officer, including:
a. This was a review of the licence of Carpathina Ltd. The licence currently permitted off-sales of alcohol from 11:00 to 22:00 daily. The premises licence holder and the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) was Iulian Frasinescu.
b. On 24 January 2020, Enfield Council’s Trading Standards submitted a review application in relation to the prevention of crime and disorder licensing objective, and seeking revocation of the premises licence in its entirety.
c. Smuggled goods had been found on the premises for a second time ie. non-duty paid cigarettes.
d. The full review application was set out in Annex 1 of the officers’ report.
e. There were no other representations in respect of this review application.
f. The response from the premises licence holder was set out in Annex 2.
g. If the Licensing Sub-Committee (LSC) was minded not to revoke the licence, Trading Standards asked that the licence be suspended until full compliance with the licence conditions had been demonstrated and a vary DPS application had been received.
h. At the hearing, Trading Standards were represented by Heena Kanani, Principal Trading Standards Officer, and Carpathina Ltd were represented by Iulian Frasinescu, Nicoleta Gafita, and an interpreter, Gabriela Doina Basca.
2. The statement on behalf of Trading Standards, including:
a. The review application was based on the crime and disorder licensing objective; namely that non-duty paid tobacco was found on the premises.
b. On 29 October 2019, officers from Trading Standards and Licensing Enforcement, the Police Licensing Officer, and a dog handler and dogs from Wagtail International carried out a day of unannounced visits to shops in LB Enfield, including a visit to Carpathina Ltd. At the time of the visit there was one member of staff on the premises: Cocuta Gafita. The premises was searched and 203 packets of non-duty paid items with foreign labelling were found and seized.
c. On 22 November 2019, Licensing officers carried out a licence inspection. A number of conditions were not in compliance: Conditions 4, 7, 8 and 12. It was requested that the conditions be brought into compliance within seven days. An inspection report was completed and signed by and issued to Ion Gherman, cashier. Neither the licence holder or DPS were present at the time of the visit.
d. On 31 January 2020, out of hours Licensing Enforcement officers made a re-visit and met the same cashier who was working during the last inspection visit. Training records were now compliant, a refusals book was available, and one recent invoice was seen for tobacco, no more invoices on site. A request was made that a copy of last month’s invoices be sent within the next seven days. The invoices were later sent, as set out in Appendix 6.
e. Mr Frasinescu attended a formal interview, and a prosecution was ongoing.
f. Following the seizure and interview, officers had a lack of confidence in the management of the business to operate the licence.
g. This was not the first time that illicit goods had been found at the premises. On 7 August 2018, there had been a previous seizure from the premises of 387 packets of non-duty paid cigarettes. The explanation was that the legal requirements were not known at the time. Nicoleta Gafita signed the notice of seizure. This was the first time she was acknowledged as an employee. Nicoleta and Cocuta were related. It was claimed that the cigarettes were given to friends and were not for sale.
h. Mr Frasinescu had not been seen in the shop, and had been out of the country at some points, and had trusted his staff.
i. Trading Standards were of the opinion that it was appropriate to recommend revocation of the premises licence.
j. The Secretary of State guidance took smuggled tobacco very seriously, and the undermining of the prevention of crime and disorder licensing objective. Licence revocation should be seriously considered, even in the first instance. It was recommended that this licence should be revoked in entirety.
k. If the LSC was minded not to revoke, then it was asked for suspension until there was full compliance with the licence conditions, that the DPS had demonstrated full understanding, or that a vary DPS application was submitted. There were no recommendations for amendments to conditions as they were already amended in 2018 and were the most appropriate and up to date conditions.
3. The statement of Mr Frasinescu, through the interpreter, including:
a. When the visit happened in October, he and Nicoleta were out of the country, in Romania, and were unaware of the activities at the shop.
b. When information was given, he did retraining.
c. The business was facing new problems at the moment, and a licence revocation on top could bring it crashing down. If possible, he asked for leeway as a revocation would be a real blow for this business in tough times, and he asked the LSC to please not revoke.
4. Mr Frasinescu, through the interpreter, responded to questions, including:
a. In response to Members’ queries about storage of illicit tobacco and why it happened again, he believed staff had agreed and had stopped doing it. They had been told what to do. He had worked with Council officers and rectified issues. It was confirmed there had been a minor variation of the licence to amend conditions and vary the plan. He had not been aware what was happening when he was not there in October 2019.
b. In response to queries about how often he was at the premises, it was advised that would depend on the day, but normally he and Nicoleta had tried to go there and check what was going on twice a week. When they learned about what was happening, they tried to go on a more regular basis and now spent about half a day in the shop every day. In 2019 he had needed to go to Romania for dental treatment.
c. In response to queries about trust in staff, and potential of changing the DPS, it was advised there was now a supervisor in place which was Mr Gherman, the cashier. Mr Frasinescu trusted him and wanted him to supervise. He agreed to consider a transfer application to make Ion Gherman and / or Nicoleta the DPS.
d. In response to questions from the Trading Standards officer, Mr Frasinescu confirmed that he had delivered the training. When asked to explain what he told staff, he advised that they were not allowed to sell cigarettes unless they had been legitimately purchased, that they were not allowed to sell alcohol without proof of age, and to keep obeying the mandatory conditions of the licence. He specified the age to buy alcohol as 22 years: that he did not allow under 22’s to buy alcohol. Also that if someone came into the shop who looked drunk or not in a good state they would not be allowed to be sold anything. There was regular training given, lasting 30 minutes or more, normally before he went to replenish stock. Tobacco and alcohol was only bought by himself or Nicoleta and they bought from the warehouse. There were other staff in the shop who held a personal licence: staff were hired.
5. The summary statement on behalf of Trading Standards, that given this was not the first time that smuggled goods had been found at the premises and given the volume found, their recommendation remained that this licence be revoked.
6. The summary statement by Charlotte Palmer, Senior Licensing Enforcement Officer, that having heard all the representations, and Mr Frasinescu’s written submission, it was for the LSC to consider the steps appropriate in support of the licensing objectives, and highlighting the relevant policy and guidance, in particular s.11.27 and s.11.28.
1. In accordance with the principles of Section 100(a) of the Local Government Act 1972 to exclude the press and public from the meeting for this item of business on the grounds that it involves the likely disclosure of exempt information as defined in Paragraph 7 of Part 1 of Schedule 12A to the Act.
The Panel retired, with the legal representative and committee administrator, to consider the application further and then the meeting reconvened in public.
2. The Chairman made the following statement:
“Having read and listened attentively to the written and oral representations, the Licensing Sub-Committee has resolved that the appropriate step to be taken to support the promotion of the licensing objectives is to revoke the licence held by Mr Iulian Frasinescu at the premises known as and situated at Carpathina, 337 Bowes Road, London, N11 1BA.
The Licensing Sub-Committee takes into consideration the guidance in s.11.20, s.11.27 and s.11.28 and considers that the presence of smuggled goods for the second occasion, and significant volume, causes serious concern.
In light of the licensing objective of the prevention of crime and disorder, the Sub-Committee considers it appropriate and proportionate to revoke the licence in these circumstances and in keeping with the guidance referenced above.
The primary reason the review was called was the storage of non-duty paid tobacco products.
The breaches of conditions were purely incidental and secondary to the Sub-Committee’s consideration.
As such, the Licensing Sub-Committee was persuaded that the Trading Standards’ application case has been made in full.”
3. The Licensing Sub-Committee resolved to revoke the licence.