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Licence at risk for Peterborough store accused by police of ‘handling stolen goods’

Police: “The evidence of criminal activity associated to UK Plus EU is clear and factual’

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A Peterborough convenience risks being banned from selling alcohol following claims by police that it is “a known premises for handling stolen goods”. Peterborough licensing officer Paul Hawkins will make his case for the UK Plus EU shop at 27 Broadway Peterborough to have its premises licence revoked at a city council licensing hearing on January 22 at the town hall.

Jacqui Harvey, head of operations environmental health, licensing & trading standards and Darren Dolby, senior licensing regulatory officer, says the committee has the power under Licensing Act 2003 to revoke the licence.

The guidance recommends that revocation of the licence even in the first instance, should be seriously considered where reviews arise and the licensing authority determines that the crime prevention objective is being undermined through the premises being used to further crimes,” says their report.

The detail is provided by PC Hawkins.

He says that on Monday 13th November 2023, at approximately 10:10 hours a known shoplifter in possession of stolen goods from Poundland in Hereward Cross, entered UK Plus EU.

The offender is seen on Peterborough City Council CCTV to cycle directly to UK Plus EU where he props his cycle outside the premises and is seen to enter with a heavy bag “due to the weight of the stolen items.

“A few minutes later the same male is seen to leave the store with the same bag, although visibly lighter.

“Two officers detain the male a couple of streets away; in the process the male discards £15 in bank notes.”

PC Hawkins says other officers attend UK Plus EU and recover two boxes of stolen Galaxy chocolate bars valued at £60 from the rear storeroom, the exact items stolen from Poundland.

He says CCTV from UK Plus EU shows the shoplifter entering, walking directly to the back of the store, meeting a store worker, and moments later both emerge from the storeroom.

The shoplifter is later handed a small black poly bag “and CCTV montage of the incident will be made available to the licensing committee and the licence holder”.

PC Hawkins says the following day, accompanied by Mr Holby, they visit UK Plus EU to ask for the CCTV footage.

As both looked around the shop, “it became apparent that some of the stock pricing was strange in the rear right-hand corner, next to the entrance to the storeroom.

“Shelving contained washing capsules with sticky notes for pricing and “Yankee candles”, these are items that are commonly stolen by shoplifters, as they easily sell on.

“The pricing system was clearly different to that of their other household products.”

PC Hawkins says that whilst chatting “a metal pole is seen laying on the floor, behind the counter.

“It has tape around one end and string attached as if made to be used as an adapted weapon.

“This item was seized, and they signed the pole over for destruction”.

PC Hawkins will tell the committee that police believe the actions taken by the shoplifter immediately after the initial theft and to cycle directly to UK Plus EU “would suggest that this is a known premises for handling stolen goods and that this was not the first occasion”.

He adds: “The evidence of criminal activity associated to UK PLUS EU is clear and factual.

“The evidential threshold required by the licensing committee is NOT that of a criminal court. Cambridgeshire Constabularies respectfully requests that consideration be given to revocation of the premises licence.”

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The city council’s safer communities service will support the bid to have the premises licence revoked.

Their letter to the licensing committee reminds councillors that “shoplifting is a blight on businesses within Peterborough city centre.

Stolen Galaxy bars found at EU Plus UK in Broadway, Peterborough, and the metal pole found there – and confiscated by police. Other goods, say police, have unusual pricing labels

Stolen Galaxy bars found at EU Plus UK in Broadway, Peterborough, and the metal pole found there – and confiscated by police. Other goods, say police, have unusual pricing labels

“And it is often a means to finance offenders’ alcohol and substance misuse, which in turn leads to anti-social behaviour and has a detrimental impact on those who live, work, and visit the city centre.

“Office of National Statistics figures show that shoplifting in Peterborough had increased by 54% in the 12 months leading up to June 2023”.

The letter adds: “Any form of criminal activity cannot be condoned by responsible authorities.

“Given what we now know about the premises’ illegal activities of purchasing and selling stolen goods and being situated in an area that is already experiencing shoplifting and anti-social behaviour associated with alcohol; it is on this basis that the safer communities service supports the Constabulary’s application for a review of the premises licence for UK Plus EU.

“This is in the interest of community safety due to the licence holders not upholding the licensing objectives of ‘the prevention of crime and disorder’ and ‘public safety’”.

Options for the committee included

1: To modify the conditions of the premises licence

2: To exclude a licensable activity from the scope of the licence

3: To remove the designated premises supervisor from the licence

4: To suspend the licence for a period not exceeding three months, or

5: To revoke the licence.

The report adds: “In addition the guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003 states: “The licensing authority may decide that the review does not require it to take any further steps appropriate to promote the licensing objectives.

Stolen Galaxy bars found at EU Plus UK in Broadway, Peterborough, and the metal pole found there – and confiscated by police.


Stolen Galaxy bars found at EU Plus UK in Broadway, Peterborough, and the metal pole found there – and confiscated by police.

“In addition, there is nothing to prevent a licensing authority issuing an informal warning to the licence holder and/or to recommend improvement within a particular period of time.

“It is expected that licensing authorities will regard such informal warnings as an important mechanism for ensuring that the licensing objectives are effectively promoted and that warnings should be in issued in writing to the licence holder.

“However, where responsible authorities such as the police or environmental health officers have already issued warnings requiring improvement – either orally or in writing – that have failed as part of their own stepped approach to concerns, licensing authorities should not merely repeat that approach and should take this in to account when considering what further action is appropriate.”

 

Stolen Galaxy bars found at EU Plus UK in Broadway, Peterborough, and the metal pole found there – and confiscated by police.

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