A Truro kebab shop owner pleaded guilty at Truro Magistrates Court on Tuesday August 19 to operating beyond his licensed opening hours in contravention of the Licensing Act 2003.
Mehmet Gulenc, who operates the One Stop kebab shop in New Bridge Street was given a 12 month conditional discharge, reduced from 18 months due to an early guilty plea. He was also ordered to pay the full costs of £1,045.40, together with a victim surcharge of £15.00.
The court heard that Mr Gulenc was approached by police during the early hours of Sunday, March 30, when the clocks changed from Greenwich Mean Time to British Summer Time.
He was advised by the officers that he was exceeding his licensed hours as the clocks had gone forward. The officers had visited a number of premises that evening and all had closed following intervention by them. Mr Gulenc refused to close and became abusive to the officers when they approached him.
In mitigation, Mr Dunkley, Mr Gulenc’s solicitor said that this situation had occurred due to confusion as in Turkey the clocks changed at 4.00am and Mr Gulenc genuinely believed that this was the case in this country. He was aware that the clocks changed on that night however did not think it would occur until after his premises shut.
Cornwall Council Licensing Service had previously cautioned Mr Gulenc in 2013 for exceeding his hours and during an investigation by Cornwall Council’s licensing compliance officer Nicola Kewn, Mr Gulenc had failed to pass over CCTV footage when requested to do so.
Mr Dunkley stated that when the offence occurred for which the caution was issued, Mr Gulenc was not present at the premises, however, as he is the designated premises supervisor, he accepted that he was responsible for ensuring that the law was complied with.
Magistrates accepted that there was some mitigation regarding the hour change and the confusion that occurred together with the language difficulties that the defendant experienced, however they believed that he should have stopped trading when asked to by the police.
Cornwall Council’s licensing compliance manager Bob Mears said: "We are pleased with the outcome of this enquiry and appreciate the manner in which the magistrates have considered this matter.
"A prosecution is a last resort but as there had been previous breaches of the licensing hours and the premises were cautioned last year, the council had no option but to take a firm line and to prosecute."