Pictured: contraband cigarettes on sale at Flush Garage
By Tony Earnshaw Local Democracy Reporter
A 24-HOUR petrol station operating “more as an off-licence” with a “vast” amount of alcohol on sale has had its licence revoked for the second time in six months.
It followed a string of offences at Flush Garage, on the border of Liversedge and Heckmondwike, which has acquired a notorious reputation for hate crime, theft, criminal damage and violence.
An application by owner Hamayun Sajjad to become the premises supervisor at the filling station on Wakefield Road was also rejected by Kirklees Council’s three-member Licensing Panel.
The previous premises supervisor, Shamsher Yasin, lives in Pakistan and was said to be responsible in name only.
Bradford-based Mr Sajjad, who was not present at hearings held this month and in April at Huddersfield Town Hall, was described by West Yorkshire Police as having “a complete disregard to the laws of this country”.
The panel heard that staff at the garage were paid cash-in-hand at £5 an hour. They were untrained and could not operate the on-site CCTV.
One 19-year-old counter assistant sold alcohol to youngsters who did not look 18 and who had no identification.
They turned out to be plain-clothed police cadets aged 13, 14 and 15 used in a test purchase ‘sting’ operation.
Non-duty paid contraband cigarettes, believed to be from the Ukraine, were also found on site a week later.
Licensing Officer Mike Skelton said Flush Garage “seems to operate more as an off-licence than a filling station. The amount of alcohol on sale is vast”.
PC Katie Jagger, partnerships officer for Kirklees Division, said Mr Sajjad’s actions had impacted on licensing law, young people had been served alcohol, employees had been paid cash-in-hand, the government had been cheated of tax and national insurance contributions had been bypassed.
She added that staff had also been subjected to violence and hate crimes in other incidents.
Richard Woodhead, licensing officer for Kirklees Division, said Mr Sajjad had also failed to disclose that he had been convicted of drug driving, and banned for 12 months, when applying for his personal licence.
In revoking the premises’ licence panel chairwoman Coun Amanda Pinnock said Mr Sajjid “had sufficient control” of the premises at the time incidents took place and particularly when non-duty cigarettes were found.