In Brief

23 February, 2007

West Yorkshire crackdown

Police in West Yorkshire have announced a third major test purchase operation on drinks shops in the county. In the first two rounds of tests, neighbourhood policing team officers found that staff at seven out of the 12 off-licences they visited in Clayton, Allerton, Queensbury and Thornton were guilty of selling alcohol to under-18s.

Harrogate manhunt

Harrogate police are trying to track down a man who robbed three businesses in as many days. The robber stole cash from a branch of Thresher s on Feb 12 after threatening the female assistant with a knife. He had carried out similar raids at a Co-op branch on Feb 10 and a garage on Feb 11. The police have warned shop staff and the public not to approach the man, who they consider to be a danger to the public.

Screwdriver threat

A member of staff working at an off-licence in south Belfast was threatened with a screwdriver by one of four men who demanded cash during an armed robbery on Feb 5. The gang stole an unknown amount of cash before driving off in a silver Nissan Sunny which they later abandoned. No one was injured in the incident.

Belfast worker attacked

A sales assistant needed hospital treatment following an armed raid on an independent wine merchants in Belfast. Two men armed with hand guns and wearing scarves over their heads burst into The Vineyard on Feb 18 and demanded cash. The assistant was forced to hand over money from the till before being hit on the back of the head with a gun. Items were seized by police for forensic examination.

Addict spared jail

A drug addict who admitted raiding an off-licence and a post office in Croydon on one night has been spared jail. James Good was given a suspended sentence and the chance to kick his habit at Croydon Crown Court on Feb 7. He stole £30 from the till in the off-licence after forcing the door open.

Pat on the back for Lewes

Drinks retailers in Lewes, East Sussex, have been given a glowing report by police and Trading Standards officers after they all passed test purchases. Eight off-licences were tested during the operation and none were found to have sold alcohol to the under-age volunteer. PC Duncan Ellison said: "Following disappointing results at the end of last year, we regularly carry out these tests."

Assistant pistol-whipped in raid

An off-licence assistant was injured after being pistol-whipped by a masked man during a raid on a shop in Beckenham. The employee of Kent House off-licence was stacking shelves when the robber burst in and demanded cash. He forced his victim to open the till before hitting him with the gun and then escaping.

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Rosé tinted glasses

I was asked recently what I thought the biggest change had been in wine fashion in the past five years. My answer was unequivocal: sales of pink wines. From being a niche that expanded and contracted with the sunshine, rosé has subtly but steadily become a stalwart of many merchants’ ranges, with Provence firmly at the top and asked for by name.

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