Galashiels restaurant’s booze licence bid approved despite failure to declare conviction

An oversight by a Galashiels restaurant boss while applying for an alcohol licence has been judged by councillors to be no more than a lapse of memory, allowing his bid to sell booze to be approved.

Monday, 3rd August 2020, 11:57 am
Updated Monday, 3rd August 2020, 12:10 pm
Paolo Crolla at Paolo's Italian in Galashiels.

Paolo Crolla, owner of Paolo’s Italian in the town’s Market Street, appeared before Scottish Borders Council’s licensing committee via video-link last Friday, July 31, to ask for a licence to serve alcohol there. 

He first had to answer questions about a previous conviction he had failed to declare in his application, however.

Appearing on behalf of Police Scotland, Sergeant Stephen Granger, of Galashiels police station, told the committee: “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. 

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“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 takeaway.

“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 fined £200 for that offence, the meeting heard.

When asked to explain why he hadn’t disclosed that conviction in his application, Mr Crolla told councillors: “When it came to sign the forms, it was just down to a pure mistake that I did not state that at the time.

“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 accepted that explanation, saying: “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 agreed and voted unanimously to give Mr Crolla the thumbs-up. 

Under the terms of his new licence, alcohol can be sold from 11am to midnight on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays and from 11am to 1am on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays for consumption in the restaurant.

Booze can also be bought to take away between 11am and 10pm daily all week.