A VILLAGE supermarket is appealing a council’s decision to revoke their alcohol licence following a raid from immigration officers.

Country Produce, in Latchingdon Road, Cold Norton, was banned from selling alcohol by Maldon District Council’s licensing sub-committee in May.

The store is appealing that decision. If successful they will be able to sell alcohol again.

During a raid of the shop in February, immigration officers found two employees working illegally, one of whom said he was being paid cash in hand at below minimum wage.

Joseph Cannon, representing Essex Police who applied to have the licence revoked, said: “An immigration officer apprehended a man.

“When first questioned he said he was not working in the store, but another employee shopped him and said he was, at which point he accepted that he was.

“He was asked if he was living in the flats above the shop.

“He said no, but again a colleague said that he was, and when he was told to pack his bags he went into one of the rooms upstairs and packed from there. At the same time, another immigration officer apprehended a gentleman.

“He admitted that he was working at the store but did not have the documents to do so. He was an immigration over-stayer.

“He was being paid £4.50 an hour cash in hand, below the required minimum wage for a man aged over 18. This is not a one-off, there were two of these guys.

“There were other employees who were being paid properly and earnings were going through HMRC. He knew what to do, he just chose not to do it on these occasions.”

Store manager, Ravinder Singh Grover, admitted he had made a mistake and pledged changes were being put in place to avoid it happening again. He asked that rather than revoking the licence, it be suspended.

After deliberation, it was ruled Country Produce should have its licence revoked.

The appeal will be heard at Colchester Magistrate’s Court on February 22.