A Wem restaurant owner has been fined after he flouted licensing laws.

Shameel Iqbal was prosecuted by Shropshire Council after he failed to secure licences to serve food after 11pm and alcohol at the Junoon restaurant on High Street in 2017.

At Telford Magistrates’ Court on Monday [JULY 2], the 26-year-old pleaded guilty to two charges of unauthorised licensable activity and a third of displaying alcohol for unauthorised sale.

Mark Davies, prosecuting, said Mr Iqbal had been without a licence for between six and seven months.

But he added a caution would have been considered if the defendant had not been “evasive” during interview.

The court was told Iqbal, of Hurleybrook Way, Leegomery, Telford, had applied for a personal licence in January 2017.

A separate premises licence application was received at the start of June 2017.

But although a cheque for the cost of the personal licence was cashed by the unitary authority, the application was incomplete and an email was sent to the defendant to inform him at the end of January.

Mr Davies said: “No further word was received from Mr Iqbal.”

He said the police informed the council in May 2017 that the restaurant appeared to be selling alcohol without a licence.

Shropshire Council officers attended and were told alcohol was available. The defendant was sent an email telling him to remove the alcohol from display and to stop serving it, but when no response was received the matter was passed onto the council’s investigating team which sent two teams of officers to the restaurant on June 30, 2017.

The first ordered a meal and beer which was served to their table, while the second ordered a takeaway and beer.

Mr Davies continued: “The officers noted alcohol was being served to other customers in the restaurant and alcohol was visible for purchase.”

He said Mr Iqbal voluntarily attended an interview and said he had put signs up to say alcohol was not available and customers could bring their own, but could not provide evidence of this.

Mr Davies added: “It may have been felt he was suitable for a caution but his evasiveness, the fact that it had gone on for between six and seven months, and the fact that he had been notified by the council led to these proceedings.

“The council is quite content with the premises continuing to trade, but feels this is a lesson for him to learn about licensing.”

Gurdeep Singh, defending, said his client believed the personal licence had been granted as the cheque had been cashed, and that he wasn’t informed otherwise until June 27 when the first council officers visited the restaurant.

He continued: “My client says he had specifically told staff not to sell alcohol from the premises and the individuals involved have since been sacked.

“He fully accepts it was his responsiblity.”

Magistrates told Iqbal they take licensing matters “seriously” and awarded costs of £2,270.

The defendant was also fined £140 and must pay a victim surcharge of £30.