A LICENSED premises operator who was refused a licence to sell alcohol in East Lothian on police advice is working in the county after being granted the necessary paperwork by a neighbouring authority, it has been revealed.

Police claim that a loophole in the legal system allowed the woman, who was described by them as “unfit” for the role, to apply to another board who ruled against their advice and gave her a personal licence.

And they say that it means she is operating in East Lothian despite their concerns and can move elsewhere in the country unchecked.

Her identity and work location has not been revealed.

East Lothian Council’s licensing board has agreed to raise the case at a national level after it was raised by officers at a meeting in Haddington Town House.

It is understood that the woman’s personal licence was rejected by East Lothian’s licensing board following representations by police but granted by Edinburgh’s board months later.

People applying for a personal licence in Scotland have to do so through the board which covers the address where they live, while people living outside Scotland can apply to any board.

Inspector Andrew Harborow, Police Scotland, asked the board to consider raising the issue after the incident in East Lothian, which he said highlighted the problem.

He said: “On this occasion police objected and that was supported by this board but they were able to go to another board, we also objected, but the other board approved the application and they now work in East Lothian, so they have been able to circumvent the board.”

The example led to board member Councillor Jane Henderson questioning why someone would be so determined to get around the legislation, saying: “The determination shown to do this suggests this loophole is much more serious.”

The board was told that there was a danger of restricting people’s freedom to work if personal licences were required for every authority area – however, it was suggested that a better system could be in place to alert boards if someone had been refused a licence already.

Councillor Jim Goodfellow, board member, said: “It would seem there is a loophole here which needs to be considered.

“It is local police who have information about who is fit and proper and that needs to be considered.”

The board agreed to raise the matter with the SOLAR licensing group, which reports to the Scottish Parliament.