Restaurant owner wins bid to serve alcohol despite failing to disclose previous licence breach

A Galashiels restaurant owner has been chastised by police for failing to report a licensing breach to the council, but his bid to serve alcohol from his premises was still successful. 

By Joseph Anderson, Local Democracy Reporter
Friday, 31st July 2020, 11:30 am
Updated Friday, 31st July 2020, 11:36 am
Paolo Crolla at Paolo's Italian in Galashiels.
Paolo Crolla at Paolo's Italian in Galashiels.

Paulo Crolla, who owns Paolo’s Italian on Market Street, appeared before Scottish Borders Council’s licensing committee today, Friday July 31, asking for a licence to serve alcohol from the premises. 


However, Mr Crolla, who appeared via video link, first had to answer questions about a previous conviction he had failed to report during the application process.


Appearing on behalf of Police Scotland, Sergeant Stephen Granger told the committee: “The details of the incident are as follows: at about 1.15am on Tuesday, December 27, 2016, staff members were observed by reporting officers selling takeaway pizza from the window hatch of the premises, with a constant line of customers queued up and purchasing takeaway food. 


“On being challenged the accused appeared relaxed and stated he had a late hours catering licence in place. 


“There was no licence displayed within the kitchen area and the reporting officer was unable to visually check the licensing hours for the catering. 


“Between 1.15am and 3am on the same date the reporting officer informed the accused that he must close his street food take away.


“The following day a check was then carried out with the divisional licensing officer, who found that food sales should have ceased at midnight on December 26, 2016.”


Mr Crolla was also fined £200 for the offence.


When asked to explain why he did not disclose this in his application, Mr Crolla told the committee: “When it came to sign the forms, it was just down to a pure mistake that I did not state that at the time.


“But of course there would be a follow-up police check. Really, for me, there was nothing to hide at all as everything is black and white there, it’s in my record as the police officer has mentioned. 


“I didn’t mention it for the simple reason that it just slipped my mind, and I just went ahead and signed the documents that were passed over to me. 


“There was nothing to hide at all.”


Kelso councillor Tom Weatherston spoke in favour of granting Mr Crolla a licence: “Obviously the chap made a mistake that he has admitted. 


“It is the case that people sometimes forget things like this, but it isn’t enough for me to not support the application. 


“I wish Mr Crolla well in his business.”


Fellow councillors sitting on the committee agreed with councillor Weatherston, and the licence was granted unanimously. 


Under the new licence, alcohol will be sold from the premises between 11am and midnight on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays, and between 11am and 1am on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays, for consumption in the restaurant.


Alcohol can be purchased from the premises for consumption off-site between 11am and 10pm all week.