A Hereford shop that has been in trouble for selling illegal goods will not now change hands after a potential new owner was refused a licence to sell alcohol.

Mantas Bagdonas of Bebrosa Ltd had applied to Herefordshire Council for a licence for the shop at 24 Eign Gate, currently trading as Europe.

Under previous owner Ina Turuliene, the shop lost its licence in November following police claims that it had sold stolen goods and unlicensed prescription medicines.

Its licence had previously been suspended for three months for selling illegal cigarettes.


Mr Bagdonas, like Ms Turuliene a Lithuanian national, applied for new a licence to sell alcohol between 9am and 9pm seven days a week, which came before the council’s licensing subcommittee yesterday (February 22).

Trading standards officer Paul Di Lucia told the meeting he had “no other option but to object” to the new application.

He had found business links between the current applicant and the previous licence holder, and had concerns that this new application was “simply a paperwork exercise”, noting that the shop “is still seemingly trading as Europe”.

“I believe they are trying to circumvent the committee’s previous decision and retain an alcohol licence just under a different name,” he said.

When council environmental health officers visited the shop in January, “the sole person in charge was previous owner of Europe, who was subject to the full licence revocation” two months earlier, Mr Di Lucia said.


Nor did the council’s business rates records show a change of ownership at the store, he added.

West Mercia Police licensing officer PC Chris Lea said he supported Mr Di Lucia’s objection, due to the “clear connection between the current applicant and the previous licence holder”.

Mr Bagdonas told the meeting he hadn’t yet changed the name of the shop as “if the licence is declined, it makes no sense for me to buy the business from that lady”.

“She is ruined and can’t trade anymore,” he said, explain that he had known Ms Turuliene “for a long time” and she had helped him with previous business ventures.

“I had no issues with her,” he said. “Now she has problems in her personal life, she is leaving England.”

He went on: “The new business will be different, it will be changed totally, I will work here by myself. I always pay my bills, and have no record of illegal stuff.”

Committee members asked Mr Bagdonas why he had not responded to emails setting out conditions on the licence proposed by police and trading standards.

He initially said he had “agreed to all conditions and responded to all emails” from the council. “Maybe it was some mistake, maybe sent to the wrong email address?”

Then checking his phone, he said: “It looks like I missed that. I have two kids, work, school, I am busy person. Sorry about that.”

Giving the decision to refuse the licence application, committee chair Coun Paul Andrews said that “to grant the licence would not uphold the principal licensing objective, to prevent crime and disorder”.

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