A TAKEAWAY food establishment in Bournemouth town centre has been operating “unfairly” without a licence since opening.

Korean Japanese style outlet Bentos on Yelverton Road in September and has proved to be a popular lunchtime stop for workers in the town.

However, the Daily Echo understands the business has been open without the correct licence on the premises during this time.

Bournemouth Borough Council said they were aware of complaints about Bentos.

Edward Restelica, co-owner and manager of neighbouring Italian restaurant Del Marco, said it was frustrating to discover a competing business had been running for so long without a proper licence and the smell of hot food was drifting into the restaurant.

“It is unfair, as simple as that. They are flaunting the laws and it seems like it is one law for them and another for the rest of us,” he said.

“How would the council feel if I went down somewhere else in town and just opened up for business straightaway? They would be straight on the case.

“They are producing hot food and the smell of it is being pumped into our restaurant. Customers have been commenting on the smell.“

Andy Sherriff, planning enforcement manager, said: “There’s an ongoing enforcement case and our officers have been updating the complainants as the case progresses.

“It is disappointing the proprietors of the business have not taken the opportunity to remedy the situation. As a consequence, we will be reviewing the case and taking the necessary enforcement action.”

Bentos representative Doo Ill Seo said they were progressing an application for change of use at the premises and discussions were ongoing with the council.

“We’ve been talking through our menu and process with the council. We’re taking steps and sorting an application,” he said.

"We were made aware of the issue around the ventilation shortly after opening and had an engineer visit to address the problem.

"After this we thought the problem had been sorted."