Agenda item


Review Application


RECEIVED the application made by Trading Standards for a review of the Premises Licence (LN/201401122) held by Polonez Limited at the premises known as and situated at Polonezz, 14 Green Lanes, London, N13 6JR.




1.    The introduction by Charlotte Palmer, Senior Licensing Enforcement Officer, including:


a.  This was a review of the licence of Polonezz. The licence currently permitted off-sales of alcohol from 09:00 to 20:00 Monday to Saturday, and 11:00 to 19:00 Sunday. The premises licence holder was Polonez Limited, and the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS) was Izabella Kuziola.

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, 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.  There had been no response from the premises licence holder to date.

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 Polonez Limited were represented by two Directors of the company.


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 and alcohol were 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 Polonezz. At the time of the visit there was one member of staff on the premises: Monika Bugalska. The premises was searched and a total of 74 packets of non-duty paid items were found and seized: a total of 1480 cigarettes, plus 51 bottles of alcohol, mainly vodka.

c.  On 22 November 2019, Licensing officers carried out a licence inspection. A number of conditions were not in compliance, for example the CCTV was not working and no signs were displayed – drinking control area. A notice asking that the conditions be brought into compliance within seven days was issued to Monika Bugalska. The named DPS was not present at the time of either visit.

d.  On 11 February 2020, a Senior Licensing Enforcement Officer re-visited the premises. The CCTV was not operational, and it was advised this was due to a problem with rats. A ‘Designated Public Place Order’ poster needed to be displayed at the exit. The officer was also shown a machine via which staff or customers could scan the bar code of an item to enable printing of a label with the ingredient printed in English. The inspection report was signed, as set out in Appendix 5 of the report.

e.  On 27 February 2020, Out of Hours Licensing Enforcement Officers visited the premises. The time on the CCTV monitor was fast, and staff were unable to access playback and unable to check how long footage was being stored for. The inspection report was set out in Appendix 6.

f.  On 12 December 2019, in a PACE interview, it was advised that the responsibility for ordering goods lay with the manager Monika Bugalska, and that the business did not sell tobacco. The renewal fee issue would be checked. The tobacco on the premises was advised as private, and obtained from delivery guys and kept in the shop for the staff members who smoked. It was first claimed the delivery guys left the tobacco but later stated it was paid for. Officers questioned why after a previous warning that permission was given to staff to accept goods. It was advised that one of the directors went to the Palmers Green shop once a week and the other more often and that they respectively smoked one and two packets of cigarettes per day. It was advised that the non-duty paid alcohol was for a forthcoming staff Christmas party for 150 people, and the suppliers could not be identified.

g.  On 26 January 2018, there had been a previous seizure from the premises of 94 packets of non-duty paid cigarettes. A minor variation licence was issued with additional conditions in May 2018.

h.  Trading Standards were of the opinion that given the quantities seized, the repeated offending, and the lack of diligence at the premises it was appropriate to recommend revocation of the premises licence.

i.  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, given the large volume of cigarettes and alcohol that were in plastic bags behind the counter. Trading Standards had a lack of confidence in the explanations offered by those running the business.

j.  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 understanding and the intention to fully supervise, or that a vary DPS application was submitted. There were no recommendations for amendments to conditions as they were already amended and were the most appropriate, and they were not adhered to.


3.  Questions were responded to, including:


a.  It was confirmed that the company was the licence holder. The Directors were representing the company. Monika Bugalska was a manager, not a director. It was not known if she was a personal licence holder. She was not the DPS.

b.  The information given to officers was confirmed as being that the Directors had three stores, and that the Palmers Green store had five staff. The other stores were in Croydon and Ilford. At the rates advised, it was estimated it would take three to six months for the Directors to consume the 74 packets of cigarettes found at Palmers Green.


4.  The statement on behalf of the licence holder, including:


a.  Apologies were offered for councillors’ and officers’ time taken up with this case, which should not have been necessary.

b.  Alcohol and cigarettes were found at the premises in 2018 and the Directors had no idea they were there. At the time they had several shops across London: two had since been sold, but they still had three shops plus a bakery. The person responsible in 2018 was asked to leave the company. The Directors were not involved in the day to day ordering, but concentrated on accounts and transportation respectively. It was acknowledged they may not have taken the first case seriously enough, but a staff member was laid off.

c.  The occasion in October 2019 was their responsibility as they gave the green light for storing those items in their premises. They were very flexible around the cigarettes and alcohol. The cigarettes were brought by one of the delivery guys who said he had them available, in the same way as a friend coming back from a holiday in Spain for example, and he did take payment for them. Similarly, with the bottles of alcohol, there had been a party coming up for the employees of the Palmers Green shop (5), Forest Gate shop (8), Croydon shop (8) and the bakery (35) and the company’s friends, plus partners. There was a large number of bottles, but not a lot of types of alcohol.

d.  Since October, it had been realised this was a very serious thing. Since then they had introduced systems to close the previous behaviours. The flexibility with the delivery guys was stopped, and there was no keeping of such products at the shop premises. Those issues would not be happening any more. Members of staff had been asked not to keep more than one packet of cigarettes on them during working hours.

e.  There had not been any problems on their other premises in relation to sale of alcohol or tobacco. Since October there had been more inspection visits and nothing had been found. In Palmers Green the alcohol and cigarettes were not hidden: the cigarettes were in a drawer or behind the counter, the alcohol was at the back of the premises next to the door.

f.  There had been a problem with the CCTV, but that was now resolved. There had been a rat problem from the flats above, which they had fought for over three months and deployed pest control companies. They had finally shut the shop for three days and had now got rid of the problem. The CCTV cables had been chewed by the rats in between the ceilings, which had been taken down and the cables replaced.

g.  There were meetings once a week now, in respect of alcohol in particular. Cigarettes were not sold in any of their shops. Izabella Kuziola went to all the premises to provide refresher training once a month.

h.  It had not been realised that the actions could create such a problem, or that the law was being broken. It had not been appreciated that this point could be reached, and these penalties could be faced, including review of the licence. The issues had happened and they took full responsibility. Now the situations were not happening and it would remain this way.


5.  Questions were responded by the Polonez Limited Directors, including:


a.  In response to Members’ queries regarding numbers of staff at the shop at all times, it was advised that this would depend on the day: there would sometimes be three staff on a shift, sometimes two. Staff from the Palmers Green and Forest Gate shops supported each other with staffing, depending on need.

b.  The claim that it was not known they were breaking the law was questioned. With respect to the cigarettes, it was advised that buying them had been seen simply akin to buying from a friend who had been on holiday abroad and brought back cigarettes for friends to buy. It was acknowledged this may sound silly, but at that point they were very flexible about it. The amounts might seem high, but the Directors could easily smoke three packs per day. The alcohol was always bought properly, with invoices. Cigarettes had never been sold in the shops: they were purely for personal use. The amount of alcohol sold at the Palmers Green shop was minor: the business was based on groceries with shoppers maybe adding a few cans of beer or a bottle of vodka with other purchases. The issues had not been recognised as serious.

c.  In response to further queries as to why after previous history it was not recognised this behaviour was wrong, it was advised the 2018 incident was not seen as too serious. There had been a meeting, and the person responsible had been laid off. After that it was considered the problem was over. The 2019 incident was considered a one-off, but it was accepted that it was their mistake. From now on they were not even allowing any parcels to be stored at their premises. Staff received regular monthly refresher training reminders and compliance was checked, with the Directors being involved in shop visits and attending premises more frequently. They had also complied with the requirement to remove all medicines from shelves at the Palmers Green shop. It had taken several months to solve the issues with rats chewing the CCTV cables: this could be backed up with photo evidence. The posters were now displayed correctly. Training, in particular for new staff around alcohol sales, was being done. They had learned from previous mistakes.

d.  In response to queries regarding the amount of alcohol found at the Palmers Green location, it was advised that it was the most convenient dropping point for it to be left.

e.  In response to queries regarding staff members, it was confirmed that Monika Bugalska was not a director or a personal licence holder, but just an employee who had responsibility for ordering stock. She was still employed by the company at the Palmers Green shop, and ordered stock for the shops. The cigarettes and alcohol found in October were not shop stock, and it was a mistake that they were left on the premises. Monika had been present when the premises were visited. The DPS, Izabella Kuziola was confirmed as being fully trained and that she held a personal alcohol licence, and was able to pass on training to others. The overall responsibility for the licence was with the directors of the company.

f.  In response to suggestions that the information provided stretched credibility, it was advised that sometimes stupidity could not be explained, and actions could be hard to understand. Their shop had not sold cigarettes from the counter. The Directors considered they were 100% fit to hold a licence, though they had introduced a lot of things that should not happen. Their biggest mistake had been being too flexible. They had been scared by the recorded interview and had realised how serious the situation was. Steps had been taken in response and they were sure that the DPS was capable.

g.  In response to queries why the licence was considered necessary at this shop, it was advised that the company would love to keep the licence as the business had been affected by Brexit and day to day business had dropped by 30%. They had two big shops close to each other. The alcohol sales were needed, and loss of the licence could be a killer blow. If shoppers could not add beer or vodka to their shopping they might go elsewhere for groceries. The Directors were confident that in future visits, officers would see that everything was in order.

h.  In response to queries from the Trading Standards representative, it was clarified that bottles of alcohol had been stored under the counter. It was confirmed that Izabella was at the shop every Thursday and collected invoices and cash and that this was felt to be sufficient. Previously the Directors had trusted in the shop staff more, and had not supervised them correctly. They confirmed they were now aware of the condition that only the Premises Licence Holder or the DPS shall purchase alcohol and / or tobacco stock, and confirmed that Monika was in charge of ordering of grocery goods. She was due to gain a personal licence, though was not currently a licence holder. Two other staff members would also become personal licence holders, to ensure that all shifts were covered and there would always be a licence holder present at the premises.


6.  The summary statement by Trading Standards, highlighting that this was not the first time that smuggled goods had been found on the premises, and that given the large amount seized, the recommendation remained that the licence be revoked.


7.  The summary statement by Charlotte Palmer, Senior Licensing Enforcement Officer, that having heard all the representations 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 of Polonez Limited at the premises known as and situated at Polonezz, 14 Green Lanes, London, N13 6JR.


The Licensing Sub-Committee believes in particular that the storage of smuggled goods (sale or storage of smuggled tobacco and alcohol) especially not for the first time merits the revocation of the licence in furtherance of the licensing objective of prevention of crime and disorder in particular.


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.

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