A SALFORD convenience store has been stripped of its alcohol licence after one of its shopworkers was found to be working in the UK illegally.

Greater Manchester Police said that Pendleton Off Licence, on Fitzwarren Street, should not be allowed to sell alcohol after authorities discovered that one of its employees – a Pakistani national – had no right to work or live in the country.

During one inspection, the shopworker injured himself jumping from a window of the building to evade immigration officers, a Salford council licensing panel heard yesterday.

The town hall committee agreed to revoke the shop’s alcohol licence in the meeting.

But a solicitor representing the off-licence’s new manager – who took over in April, after the review was requested by GMP – said that the decision would unfairly impact his client.

He argued that the new manager’s handling of his other business – a Fallowfield corner shop – demonstrated his capability.

But councillor David Lancaster, lead member for environment and community safety, said in a statement yesterday: “Salford City Council will be robust in acting where evidence shows premises are not being managed properly. 

“Greater Manchester Police applied for a review after the business breached immigration law by employing someone who had no legal right to work or remain in the UK.

“After careful consideration the panel agreed to revoke the licence. The licensee has 21 days to appeal during which they can continue to sell alcohol. If no appeal is lodged or the appeal is not upheld the shop can remain open but will no longer be allowed to sell alcohol. The appellant has been notified and will receive full details of the reasoning behind the decision in due course.”

Yesterday’s licensing meeting – which was held online – heard from a number of officers who laid out concerns about the off-licence.

Trading Standards officer Sally Edwards said her team had discovered a counterfeit bottle of Glen’s vodka behind the counter when she visited last year.

When she conducted a further search of the building, she said it was ‘evident’ when her team investigated upstairs that someone was ‘obviously sleeping on the premises’.

She spoke with the shopworker, a Pakistani national named Khizar Hayat, who told her he had slept there overnight because he was opening the shop at 8am. 

But Trading Standards went on to inform immigration authorities of their concerns. 

Immigration officer Vivian Hardman told yesterday’s meeting that on the first occasion her team went to investigate, Mr Hayat ‘jumped from the window to try and evade the immigration officers who were there and unfortunately injured himself quite badly’.

But GMP said in its submission that Home Office checks revealed that he had overstayed his period of granted leave and has no right to work or reside in the UK.

They had called for the licence to be revoked, with one PC saying in his submission that the new owner’s links with the previous management – which included his mother – were ‘too strong’.

They said: “GMP have concerns that this is just a ploy to pass the details of the licence form mother to son in an attempt to get around the revocation of a licence. We believe that if the license does pass over then the practices that we found previously taking place at the premises will continue.”

However, a solicitor for the new manager, Mr Ali Ashraf, downplayed his client’s relationship with the rest of his family, and said he had purchased the business in ‘good faith’ from the previous owner – for a sum of £10,000.

He had proven his suitability for the role through his work running a store in Fallowfield, he said, adding that Mr Ashraf never had any allegations of illegal workers at that business.

However, the council committee agreed to revoke the licence.