AN Indian restaurant which hosted a wedding reception with more than 60 people present at the height of lockdown has had its licence to operate revoked for ‘deliberately breaching restrictions’.

When police visited Hot Chilli, at Dunscar Business Park, they found a wedding party in full swing, a Bolton Council licensing hearing was told.

The event, on February 21, when all indoor mixing between different households was prohibited, resulted in 37 fixed penalty notices being issued and prompted a review of the restaurant’s licence at the request of police.

Before the hearing, all parties were shown video footage recorded by Greater Manchester Police of what they found on the day.

PC Andrew Hopwood said there had been a report to the police that an Indian wedding was taking place inside the restaurant with approximately 60 people inside and a further 20 people had just turned up.

When police arrived they found around 60 adults and children people in attendance but the bride and groom were not in present. The party-goers were sat down at tables awaiting food service.

Shek Shah, the owner of the business, addressed the panel and said due to health reasons he had appointed a manager to run the business, but he then went abroad.

Mr Shah said he was only told the night before about the event and was led to believe it was a small party.

He felt that he had been put in a very difficult position by the manager and if he had known he would not have put the community at risk.

He said he had a good reputation within the community and took full responsibility for the event and that “there was no excuse, it was just a mistake”.

Mr Shah felt that he had been targeted by the police and had been given conflicting advice on changes in legislation relating to Covid-19.

Since the incident, he said the premises had been subjected to abuse on social media and customers boycotting the restaurant.

A decision notice published after the hearing gave the panel’s reason for revoking the premises licence of Hot Chilli.

It, said: “We were of the opinion that the premises had deliberately breached the restrictions which were in place and had complete disregard to the licensing objectives of the prevention of crime and disorder, public nuisance and public safety.

“We also took account of the video footage which clearly attributed blame to the premises.

“We were satisfied that revocation of the licence was a necessary and proportionate response in order to address the concerns that instigated the review.”