News: Shop owner set to be removed over electricity bypass controversy

News: Shop owner set to be removed over electricity bypass controversy

Another Lincolnshire Highlights news story…

Officials have ordered the removal of a man who owns a Boston shop where the electricity meter was bypassed.

Boston Supermarket, in George Street, was found to have used a bypass on its electricity meter, as well as having a hidden isolation switch allowing all electricity to bypass the meter.

Using this method over the course of nearly a year, the store was able to use £31,947.92 of electricity without paying for it.

The technique, which was purposely hidden from engineers who were sent to inspect the premises, was declared to be so unsafe that after it was discovered, it was labelled a “danger to life” and required immediate disconnection.

Boston Borough Council’s licensing sub-committee reviewed the premises licence for Boston Supermarket at 8 George Street at the request of Lincolnshire Police.

The sub-committee had concerns regarding the ability of Mr Salar Ali Karim to undertake the role of designated premises supervisor (DPS) given the offence of abstraction of electricity happened while he was in that role.

 

It was found hidden behind a tower of boxes
(Image: Boston Borough Council)

It decided it was proportionate to remove Mr Karim as DPS.

The sub-committee had to consider whether the licensing objectives of preventing crime and disorder and public safety had been met.

It heard that an offence of abstraction of electricity occurred during 2018/2019.

The majority of money has now been paid back to the utility company to cover the electricity used.

 

The sub-committee noted that during the time of the abstraction Mr Karim was the DPS at the property.

Mr Karim’s representative advised the sub-committee that although he was in control during the time of the abstraction, due to a back problem he had passed more control to his son. 

Mr Karim, the sole director of Boston European Supermarket Ltd, advised the committee that he was unaware of the abstraction and this was undertaken by his son.

Mr Karim stated he has since sacked his son and he no longer works at the premises.

Boston Supermarket
(Image: Google Street View)

 

Police had earlier said that £30,000 worth of electricity had been illegally obtained and the meter bypass was dangerous, putting staff and the public in danger.

Because a £15,000 payment was made immediately and arrangements made to recover the rest the utility company did not want to pursue a criminal complaint.

The sub-committee heard that following the abstraction, changes were made to the monitoring of the electricity supply and a maintenance contract had been entered into with an electrician. 

The sub-committee has therefore decided it is proportionate to include the following conditions on the licence:

  • A maintenance contract will be entered into and at all times be valid with a qualified electrician. This contract should be made available to the police and licensing authority on request.
  • In so far as it complies with access requirements by the utility company, the cupboard where the electricity supply is kept will be locked and two keys supplied.  One key will be retained by the electrician named in the maintenance contract, the other key to be retained by a named responsible person.  The names of the key holders to be made available to responsible authorities upon request.

The sub-committee issued a strict warning as to future conduct.

Mr Karim now has a right to appeal.



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