A restaurant in Morden was not granted its wish to serve alcohol until 5am on Saturdays.

Time in Ro in Abbotsbury Road wanted to serve up drinks from 8am to 4.30am on Fridays and until 5am on Saturdays.

Owner and applicant Marius Prisecaru said he wanted late night opening to allow for private parties including christenings and weddings at the Romanian restaurant.

But Merton Council’s licensing sub-committee heard from the police concerns that the later opening would increase anti-social behaviour in the area.

In the end the panel decided to refuse the application, instead allowing Time in Ro to sell alcohol up to 11pm.

Mr Prisecaru told the panel: “Alcohol will only be served to people having a table meal or after a substantial meal.

“We have never had any problems with alcohol behaviour or people creating nuisance – I have extended from 1am to 4.30 and 5am just at weekends for celebrations.

“It is not going  to be set in stone I don’t want to stay up until 5am every Saturday – It is just for parties if there is a christening or wedding.

“It will be for private parties so if [a member of the public] passed through and said can I have a bottle of wine I’d say, no no, you have to have a meal.”

But Cllr Draper pointed out that the application did not include a late night refreshment licence to serve food after 11pm asking: “You are saying that from 11pm-5am the premises would be dry?”.

The owner said if granted he would apply for this licence too.

Police licencing officer Russ Stevens said there had been three different applications submitted in recent months and he took a visit to Time in Ro after the second application.

He found that the cafe on one side of the premises was operating under an invalid licence as the company name it was for had been dissolved.

“The applicant has then found another premises licence which related to a grocers which only allowed the selling of alcohol off site,” said PC Stevens.

“Running until 5am carries with it extreme responsibility

“I am of the opinion that he does not have the excellent understanding of the responsibilities needed.

“It has essentially been operating without a valid premises licence for two years.

“We are not taking any action in relation to that but it concerns me greatly about the level of professionalism that the applicant has shown.”

Mr Prisecaru accepted he had not had the right licence but said it was just a mistake.

“I was mortified when [Mr Stevens]came to my premises and I found the licence was not valid,” he said.

“The council was taking the money and I was paying the fee every year – I did not know the licence was not valid.”

Delivering the decision Cllr Draper said instead of the requested late opening Time in Ro would be issued a licence to sell alcohol from 8am-11pm from Monday-Sunday  with a closing time of 11.30pm each day.

“We note that in the past the premises has operated without a licence.

“We did not feel it appropriate to grant a late licence due to the number of representations we have seen and previous noise complaints received.

“The measures proposed by the applicant are insufficient with no noise management plan.”

The restaurant will be issued with a written report in the next five days.