“Mr Hussain tried to lie to the police"
An Indian restaurant in Barnt Green, Worcestershire, has been fined £1,000 and hit with an alcohol ban after it breached lockdown rules by serving food and drink to customers on the premises.
Police visited Deedar Restaurant in Hewell Road on November 20, 2020, at around 8:30 pm, after receiving a tip-off from the public that it had been serving customers during the nationwide lockdown.
West Mercia Police officers Joshua Bednall and Joanne Barnes found people at tables with pint glasses. They also saw “two males with empty beer glasses and a nearly empty bottle of wine on the table” and the remnants of food on tables.
Staff were also not wearing face coverings.
Camera footage revealed that there were three couples in booths and two more customers at the back.
On December 1, 2020, Bromsgrove District Council’s licensing sub-committee decided to suspend the restaurant’s alcohol licence until a full review in December 2020.
Deedar was also fined £1,000.
PC Bednall said he warned restaurant manager Mohammed Hussain that he was breaching lockdown rules and asked him to remove alcohol from the tables.
However, Mr Hussain claimed the people were “waiting for takeaways”.
In a statement, PC Bednall said: “I went over to the table who I suspected had been eating and the smell of food was overwhelming.
“I asked the male whether he had been eating to which he replied ‘no’. He was extremely intoxicated.
“As he said no, I could see on the table that there were used napkins and food scattered across the table indicating that that had been eating inside the restaurant as originally suspected.”
Superintendent Mark Colquhoun said the restaurant had served food inside, workers did not have face coverings as required for takeaways, customers were “drunk” and “clearly served on the premises”.
He added: “Mr Hussain tried to lie to the police to cover up the serious shortcoming.
“Members of the public were clearly concerned as they called us to report this breach. We are currently in the middle of a pandemic.
“Clear guidance has been issued and it appears that the premises has not followed any of it by continuing to operate.”
Dildar Hussain, on behalf of the restaurant’s premises licence holder Kaptan Miah, said:
“The removal of the licence to sell alcohol at the restaurant would have an adverse effect on my business.
“Yes, I have made a mistake by interpreting the law differently in regards to Covid-19. And I sincerely apologise to this.
“I never knowingly intended to put my staff, customers or members of the public to arm in any way.
“I assure all members of the committee that this is a one-off incident and will not be repeated again.”
A spokesperson for Bromsgrove District Council said:
“On Tuesday there was a hearing to consider interim steps pending a future review hearing, the date of which is to be confirmed.
“At the meeting, the Licensing Sub-Committee decided it was appropriate to remove the Designated Premises Supervisor [Kachi Kabir, who said he had sold the business two years before] and suspend the licence pending the review which was triggered by West Mercia Police.”
Bromsgrove Councillor Margaret Sherrey added that ignorance of the law is not an excuse.