A restaurant could lose its licence after its owner was accused of forging official records by police and council licensing chiefs.

Sussex Police and Brighton and Hove City Council officials said they have lost confidence in Emad Abdolkhani who runs Persia in Hove's Church Road.

The business owner said: “It is nonsense to allege that I would arrange for the falsification of training records in full view of the police.”

After the concerns came to light, Sussex Police asked the council to review the restaurant's premises licence - which allows the venue to sell alcohol until 10.30pm six nights a week and until 10pm on Sundays.

The business may have to close if the council revokes the licence.

The review is due to take place next week when a council licensing panel made up of three councillors is expected to decide what steps to take.

It follows an inspection by police and a council licensing official on Friday, April 19. Among other things, they were concerned that a new first-floor extension was being used as an illicit shisha lounge.

The council had previously refused an application to extend the drinks licence to include the first floor earlier this year. Persia has lodged an appeal against the decision.

Last year the council also refused a planning application for a first-floor extension and change of use from housing to restaurant.

Mr Abdolkhani appealed but his appeal was dismissed on Friday, April 26.

The application for a review of the licence was submitted by Chief Inspector Karen Osborn, on behalf of Sussex Police.

She said that officers witnessed a staff member alter training records while they waited to inspect them. The staff member said at the time that she had been told to amend them by the premises licence holder Mr Abdolkhani which he denied.

Officers were waiting on the first floor. PC Andre Bernascone looked through a window built into the floor and saw a staff member with paperwork, a pen and a bottle of correction fluid amending the paperwork.

When the paperwork presented, PC Bernascone spotted the form on which the dates of training sessions had been changed from 2023 to 2024 although the sign-off date was in March last year.

Chief Inspector Osborn said: “The act of altering and falsifying the training records, allegedly as directed by the (premises licence holder) Emad Abdolkhani, during our recent inspections, is viewed as sufficiently severe to bypass the usual stepped approach and call for an immediate review of the premises licence.”

She said that, additionally, the force had had concerns about Emad Abdolkhani’s ability and desire to stick to the letter and spirit of licensing laws.

She cited “interactions with him during an investigation into a serious allegation back in April 2023”.

As a result, the police formally notified him that he was in breach of his licence because he had not co-operated with them when they had asked for security camera footage as they investigated a serious incident on the premises.

In December 2022, a licensing panel turned down an application by Mr Abdolkhani to extend the licensed hours after high drug readings in the restaurant toilets. Recent drug readings have been nil or low enough to be regarded as cross-contamination.

The licensing panel has also been sent a statement by a senior Home Office Immigration Enforcement official after two enforcement visits.

Chief immigration officer Harry Taylor said that Persia was found to have employed illegal workers – two when the premises was visited in October 2021 and two when they went back in February last year.

Council licensing officer Donna Lynsdale said that her team had “little confidence” in Mr Abdolkhani as a premises licence holder.

She issued him with shisha guidance because the first floor did not comply with the smoke-free premises element of the Health Act 2006.

In response to the allegations, Mr Abdolkhani said that there was a language barrier with the staff member who did not intend to falsify the dates or records.

He said: “There has been no intention to mislead or falsify any records which I do hope you (the police and council licensing department) recognise based on our many years’ performance and compliance.

“May I also assure you that there is always a DPS (designated premises supervisor) on duty whenever we are open to the public. I personally am on site a minimum of 15 hours each day.

“Every occasion the police complete their routine inspections, I have always been on site.”

Mr Abdolkhani also submitted an email from an organisation which was anonymous because the council redacted its name in official paperwork.

The email said that Persia was part of a programme within the Muslim community to provide meals to refugees, homeless people and those in need.

The licensing panel hearing is due to take place on Wednesday morning.​