Lancaster takeaway: Paedophile's wife can run Mognies 'grooming' premises

Mognies takeaway
Image caption Mrs Patel had her licence application approved by Lancaster City Council's licensing committee

A takeaway owned by a convicted paedophile can be run by his wife despite police concerns of a "serious risk" of more grooming, a council said.

Siraj Patel, owner of Mognies takeaway in Lancaster, is serving a four-year sentence for four counts of engaging in sexual activity with a child under 16.

Police argued other children could be groomed or abused at the takeaway.

Patel's wife Savera, who was not involved in any wrongdoing, disputed their objection at a licensing hearing.

'Could reoffend'

Mrs Patel had her application approved by Lancaster City Council.

Richard Williams, representing Lancashire Police, told the meeting it was objecting to her application because grooming took place in a Mognies delivery vehicle and involved phone calls being made from the premises to the victim.

He stressed the force was not saying Mrs Patel was involved in any crime but said she is linked to Patel.

PC Andrew Taylor, district police licensing officer, said: "If the... licence was transferred into his wife's name we felt he would still have some connection with the premises and could likely offend again."

'Impeccable character'

Mrs Patel's solicitor John Halewood-Dodd told the committee her husband will not have any future involvement in the takeaway and none of the staff working there at the time of the offences in 2014 still worked there.

All employees would now be checked using the Disclosure and Barring Service.

Mr Halewood-Dodd told the committee Mrs Patel was a "lady of impeccable character".

She knew nothing about her husband's crimes, the hearing was told, and her family relies on the takeaway as their sole source of income.

Mrs Patel helps to fund her children's education, one of whom is studying at Cambridge University.

Police said they were considering the committee's decision.

The force may seek to revoke the licence or consider agreeing certain conditions.

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites