I’ve had an unusual query from Subhash Varambhia (Snutch Newsagents, Leicester). Last year, as I reported on several occasions, they had a horrendous accident land, literally, on their doorstep – a car being chased by police rammed a lorry which destroyed the front of the shop that the Varambhias live over. There were two dead on the doorway.
The other day the mother and a friend of one of the dead put a bunch of flowers outside the shop to mark the anniversary. Later they saw that the flowers were missing and asked Subhash for help. Subhash gave them CCTV footage which shows a child and a young couple picking up the flowers.
Later on the mother called the police and six officers arrived at the shop demanding the CCTV footage. “Operation overkill,” says Subhash who refused, because they had previously disapproved of the quality of his CCTV (when he had reported shop thefts) and because he had given it to the deceased’s mother.
One of the officers told him that not only was he in breach of the Data Protection Act, but a marker would also be put against his licence and they would be referring his non co-operation to the licensing authorities. Subhash says he understood that this could only happen if alcohol was involved, but asked me if I could clarify the point.
I sent the request on to ex-retailer turned licensing specialist Chris Mitchener (Licensing Solutions) adding that Subhash really wasn’t getting along very well with Leicester police, having reported their manhandling of him on the night of the incident to the IPCC.
Chris replied: “It really does depend on the wording in his licence – he can send me a copy – but six police turning up for a bunch of stolen flowers is way over the top.”
Subhash will have to dig deep to find his licence and, if he can’t find it, he was going to try to get a copy from the town hall.