Licence-loser feels he is 'scapegoat '

23 March, 2007

A drinks shop in Eastbourne, East Sussex, is the latest to lose its licence as councils crack down on underage drinking.

Eastbourne council's licensing committee made the decision after four members of staff at Joe's Corkscrew, including owner Bruce Smith, were caught selling alcohol to teenagers.

Smith said: "It's killed me. I feel I've been made a scapegoat because of the crowds of kids outside. Branches of Tesco in Sussex failed their test purchases and only got suspensions, so I don't understand why I have had mine permanently revoked." Licensing committee chairman Bob Lacey said "the infringement had been persistent ".

Rydes of Worthing became the first shop in Sussex to have its licence permanently revoked after a string of incidents led the licensing committee to have "grave concerns about the competence of the licence holder ".

Elsewhere, a shopkeeper in Leyland, Lancashire, who continued to sell alcohol after having his licence revoked has been fined £5,000 and ordered to pay £87 costs. Aqueel-Ur-Rehman, of Farrington Grocers, pleaded guilty to selling alcohol without a licence at Leyland Magistrates' Court on March 15.

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