EDINBURGH’S tartan tat kings have made a bid to launch a bistro at a store raided for allegedly selling swords, axes and knives.
The Gold Brothers, who run several souvenir outlets on the Royal Mile, were denied a liquor licence for the Tartan Weaving Mill after revealing plans to sell alcohol alongside specialist weaponry at a new sit-down restaurant.
The full details of the eating spot have not been laid bare – but it is thought the move fits with a drive to move their empire more upmarket.
Despite this, eyebrows were raised at the madcap master-plan at this week’s city council licensing meeting, where members quickly poured cold water on the proposals.
It comes just months after police swooped on the Royal Mile premises, seizing around 900 weapons after its knife licence lapsed.
Three people are facing charges for unlawful knife dealing after a team of six officers recovered an estimated £100,000 of weapons.
The charges have been brought under the Civic Government (Scotland) Act 1982.
At the time, Chief Superintendent Mark Williams, the city’s divisional commander, said: “All of these weapons should only be sold by vendors with the appropriate licence and anyone found to be trading without the necessary permissions can expect to be visited by police.”
The owners of the Tartan Weaving Mill made an abrupt about-face during the failed licensing bid, vowing to withdraw their knife-dealing application in return for a permit to sell alcohol.
But licensing chiefs were unmoved and postponed their decision until next month. Councillor Cammy Day, a stalwart of the licensing board, said it was the “craziest application” he had ever seen.
He said: “It’s madness to sell alcohol alongside these weapons. If that’s not encouraging a potential problem I don’t know what is.
“I think it’s absolute madness that a shop that has knives, swords and axes on their shelves should be having anything like an alcohol licence anywhere near it,.
“It’s the most peculiar application I have ever seen. I’m probably one of the longest serving if not the longest serving member and I think it’s the craziest one I have seen yet.”
The Gold Brothers’ solicitor said the weapons were decorative and unlikely to be ammunition for a “revolution”.
Paul Waterson, of the Scottish Licensed Trade Association, said alcohol sales have to be accommodated in an appropriate venue.
He said: “I wouldn’t want to comment on an individual case but people have to recognise the environment in which they are selling alcohol and consider whether it’s appropriate. The venue has been deemed
inappropriate but licensing boards have to take each application on their own merit and look at them closely.”
The brothers declined to comment. We revealed yesterday how they were fined £16,000 for breaching health and safety laws after a tourist fell through a trap-door in one of their shops.