Off-licences in Witham and Halstead has been ordered to abide by strict conditions after appealing a decision to revoke its permission to sell alcohol.

Costcutters in Halstead High Street and Nisa Stores in Cross Road, Witham were raided by Home Office immigration enforcement officers in November 2016 and illegal workers was arrested at both stores.

The shops’ licences were revoked in March by a Braintree Council committee but proprietor Sivakumaran Kumarasamy appealed the decision.

Following a court hearing Braintree Council was ordered to review the decision.

After reviewing the evidence the council’s licensing committee agreed last month to allow the stores to continue selling alcohol, but imposed a series of strict conditions.

During the appeal process the stores were able to continue selling alcohol.

In evidence heard before the committee, Essex Police said they had “fundamental issues” with some management arrangements at the stores.

The decision notice said: “Police consider that there is no trust in the premises licence holder and that he is not committed to maintaining the licensing objective of the prevention of crime and disorder.”

Police asked that the licence be revoked due to the seriousness of the offence in November 2016 but said they had been unable to monitor the stores since due to a “lack of resources”.

At the meeting, committee members heard there had been “no evidence of repeated offending” and this meant it had to be assumed there had been no other immigration problems at either store.

The report said: “Notwithstanding the original immigration matters, the premises have operated in such a way that there has been compliance with the licensing objectives, namely there have been no complaints, or breaches of licence conditions.”

Evidence was provided to the committee by Mr Kumarasamy showing relevant checks had been carried out on all employees at both premises. Processes have also been put in place to “ensure all future employees are checked prior to engagement”.

The committee was reminded during the hearing that even without an alcohol licence, the stores were still able to keep trading as convenience stores and it would not be an “absolute deterrent” against repeat offending.

As part of the conditions on the licence, random, unannounced audits will be conducted of staff employment records, the results of which will be provided to the police.

Mr Kumarasamy will also have to implement stricter controls on who is employed at the stores and keep better up-to-date records.