The bosses at a convenience store in Swindon will have another chance to argue against the possible loss of its alcohol licence.

Councillors on Swindon Borough Council’s licensing panel decided to remove the licence from Okus Convenience Store in Celsus Grove, South Leaze, near Old Town in October last year after an application from the Home Office, supported by the council’s own trading standards team.

But an appeal to magistrates by the licensees Sandeep Samra and Gagandeep Samra means the panel has to hear the matter again.

Although Gangadeep Samra had attended the hearing in October to oppose the application, he had been initially unaware it was taking place and that may have harmed his ability to put his case.

The Home Office had requested the hearing after saying an immigration enforcement team visited the shop and found that two people were working at the shop in contravention of their immigration status, one working more hours than allowed on their student visa and the other who was not allowed to work in the UK at all.

The team said one man “was observed initially assisting customers with package collection in store but then swapped with his colleague and served customers behind the counter selling alcohol, cigarettes, and other items to customers".

“He was seen by officers operating the till proficiently.”

This man was visiting the UK on a student visa and was allowed to work 20 hours a week. Mr Samra told the panel that he could work longer in the holidays. But the Home Office said he later admitted to not studying at all.

The other man was on an academic visa and could not work in the UK at all. He denied working in the shop.

But the Home Office submission said: “On entry, he was behind the counter operating the till and serving a queue of customers selling them items and getting cigarettes etc for them from behind the till.

"He then swapped with the other individual and assisted a customer in finding a package they had to collect.”

Swindon Borough Council’s trading standards team put in a submission that a vaping product had been sold to a customer under 18 - which is not legal – in a test purchase the team made in March 2022.

Mr Samra said that has been a single mistake by a new member of staff and training had been given. He added that in 30 years the shop’s staff had passed several test purchase operations.

The panel will meet at 1.30pm on Thursday, February 15 at the Civic offices in Euclid Street.