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The licensing team at Mincoffs have advised Durham based Cookson Spice on the implementation of procedures and training to ensure compliance, enabling the Indian restaurant to maintain its premises licence and continue to trade.

The restaurant in Count Durham was investigated by the Home Office following the visit by immigration officers in November last year when they arrested  four men for immigration offences.

The owner, Jaman Ahmed was given a £30,000 civil penalty by the Home Office, which he has started to pay. The investigation sparked a review of the owner’s licence to sell alcohol at the restaurant.

A committee of Durham County Councillors heard Mr Ahmed had employed the services of licensing consultant Tim Robson to ensure he and his staff were properly trained in procedures around making sure employees are allowed to work in the UK.

His solicitor, Matt Foster of Mincoffs Solicitor said: “Prior to the development of this building it was a pub and the area historically had issues with crime and disorder in the streets adjacent to Cookson Terrace. This premises has not had any issues prior to the visit from the Home Office.  Mr Ahmed has done his best to ensure it doesn’t happen again and will now move forward with his eyes wide open.”

Licensing consultant Tim Robson detailed some of the work done with the business to ensure checks of employment status are made.  “All in all I’m satisfied with the receptiveness of Mr Ahmed and his employees.  He understands the seriousness of not thoroughly checking individuals who might not have the right to work.”

Immigration officer Mark Thorley, who had requested the review, said he was satisfied with extra conditions being added to Mr Ahmed’s licence.

If you need any advice on licensing matters, please contact Matt Foster on 0191 281 6151 or email 


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