Portslade shop granted drinks licence after former owner investigated over ‘modern slavery’ claims

The new owner of a shop in Portslade has been granted an alcohol licence provided that the former owners are banned from the premises when it’s open for business.

The former owners of Portslade News, in Station Road, Portslade, were under investigation after claims that people were found working for them in conditions amounting to “modern slavery”.

The new owner, LMYP Limited, run by Marissa Patel and her father Yogesh, has agreed to abide by the unusual condition on its licence.

The condition was proposed by Sussex Police because the force objected to a new licence being granted unless Miss and Mr Patel could show that they had no links with the former owners.

The proposal was accepted by a Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel which granted a licence allowing drink to be sold from 6am to 11pm every day.

Miss Patel was willing to take over running the off licence and store, near Portslade Station, but would not sign the lease until a new premises licence had been approved. The old owners retain their ownership of the premises.

The applicant’s agent, Surendra Panchal, director of Personal Licence Courses UK, also represented the previous owners, Krunal Chandrakant Patel and Kirma Krunal Patel, when they lost their Saltdean licence.

At the licensing panel hearing earlier this month, Mr Panchal said that he told Krunal Patel that he could not continue running the Portslade store after the problems at Saltdean News.

Krunal and Kirma Patel lost their licence for the Premier Express Saltdean Convenience Store, formerly known as Saltdean News, in Longridge Avenue, in March.

The move followed a raid before Christmas by Sussex Police when people with no right to work or stay in Britain were found working at both the Saltdean and Portslade stores.

The council also announced a review of Portslade licence which was then surrendered.

Mr Panchal said that Miss Patel and her father had no family or business relationship with Krunal Patel.

The members of the licensing panel, councillors Carmen Appich, Jackie O’Quinn and Dee Simson, said that they were satisfied and reassured that the previous owners were not involved.

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