TWO Huddersfield convenience stores have been banned from selling alcohol for a month after they were caught with untaxed bottles of spirits.
A Kirklees Council licensing panel decided yesterday to impose the one-month bans on Jerath Off Licence on Trinity Street and Dosanjh and Sons on Westgate.
An inspection carried out by West Yorkshire Police and HM Revenue and Customs found three 70 centilitre bottles of Glen’s vodka, six one-litre bottles of Glen’s vodka and eleven 70 centilitre bottles of High Commissioner whisky at Dosanjh and Sons – all without duty paid.
Mrs Ranjit Dosanjh, who holds the licence for the shop, has been trading for 29 years.
She told the panel her husband Rachhpal had bought the booze from a man in a van who had called at the shop.
She said: “We get reps who call at the shop all the time – like Cadbury’s reps – and seeing the bottles with the proper label on saying ‘duty paid’ I just couldn’t tell any difference.
“We made a mistake and we are sorry for it. Whoever comes to sell anything to us now from a van, we will refuse it.”
It is suspected that the majority of the seized alcohol was “duty diverted” – goods intended for export or delivery to another excise warehouse moved by fraudsters without UK duty being paid.
Pc Richard Woodhead, Kirklees licensing officer, said: “In this era of austerity and central funding cut-backs the actions of individuals not paying the correct duty or dealing in smuggled products continues to impact on communities and legitimate businesses that are hard-working and conscientious.
“We need to send a strong message across Kirklees that if you choose to deal in illicit products the penalties will be grave. These businesses who are willing to sell smuggled alcohol must face the consequences.”
Six 50-centilitre bottles of Jose Cuervo tequila, two 70-centilitre bottles of Smirnoff vodka and fifteen 70-centilitre bottles of Glen’s vodka were seized from Jerath Off Licence.
Mr Pardeep Jerath told the licensing panel, chaired by Clr Christine Iredale, that the tequila had been in his shop for many years and he didn’t know where he had bought it from.
He said he thought the Smirnoff vodka bottles must have come into the shop after customers had bought a bottle of booze and come back to ‘exchange’ it for something else.
He claimed his son had bought the fifteen bottles of Glen’s vodka from a man in a car outside the shop which he was going to give to his friends as Christmas presents.
But Mr Jerath said the booze had somehow got mixed up with the shop’s stock and ended up in the store room and on the shelves.