Alcohol licence ban for Blyth store used for illegal money lending operation

A family-run shop which was a front for an illegal money lending operation and the sale of thousands of pounds worth of counterfeit goods has been banned from selling alcohol

The Bariana Vinters shop in Blyth
The Bariana Vinters shop in Blyth

A family-run shop which was a front for an illegal money lending operation and the sale of thousands of pounds worth of counterfeit goods has been banned from selling alcohol.

The drinks licence held by Bariana Vinters, of Blyth, Northumberland, has been revoked by the county council’s licensing committee on the grounds of preventing crime and disorder in the area.

The decision was taken at a hearing held at the request of Northumbria Police, which asked for the store’s alcohol licence to be revoked because of concerns about the conduct of the business.

It comes two months after four members of the Bariana family – which runs the shop known as Barry’s in Salisbury Street – appeared at Newcastle Crown Court on a string of charges.

They were caught offering credit without licence, trading counterfeit goods, evading duty on alcohol and cigarettes and tax evasion.

Sukhvinder Bariana, his sons Gurdeep and Jasdeep and his brother Hargit were charged following searches of the shop, and a house in Ridley Avenue, Blyth in 2011.

The court heard how clothing and footwear, from brands including Nike, Adidas and Lyle & Scott, was found with a retail value of £18,000. The haul also included 45 pairs of trainers and 49 polo shirts.

The court was told it was practice at the shop for customers who had little or no money to take goods and pay for them later, known as paying “on the tick”.

But on top of that, a larger money lending scheme was going on, in which loans of between £150 and £650 were given out.

Sukhvinder Bariana, 54, and Gurdeep Bariana, 32, were each given a 12-month suspended sentence, and Hargit Bariana, 41, a nine-month suspended sentence. All three were given 12-month supervision orders.

Jasdeep Bariana, 23, was handed a 12-month community order with 12 months’ supervision and 150 hours of unpaid work.

Members of the county council licensing committee agree that allowing the store’s alcohol licence to remain in force would undermine crime and disorder objectives.

Licence holder Manjit Bariana can appeal the decision to the magistrates’ court. The revocation will not take effect until the time period for an appeal has expired, or any appeal has been determined.

Yesterday county council deputy leader Dave Ledger said: “This review was properly brought before the licensing committee in the interests of preventing crime and disorder. After careful consideration, the committee concluded it was wholly appropriate to revoke Mrs Manjit Bariana’s licence in order to protect the local community.”

Blyth Neighbourhood Inspector Dave Harris said: “Northumbria Police requested a review of Bariana Vinters’ premises licence following criminal activity at the shop premises.

“We are committed to cutting crime and protecting the vulnerable in our communities, and the revocation of this licence proves that.”

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