Tough stance starts to show as off-licences are shut down

02 May, 2008

Authorities take hard line with stores that sell to under-age drinkers

Four off-licences have been forced out of drinks retailing after repeatedly selling alcohol to children, indicating that a get-tough policy from licensing committees is taking effect.

Silver Street Off-licence in Doncaster joins Joe's Corkscrew in Eastbourne, Worsley Food & Wine in Eccles and Shibdon Convenience Store in Blaydon are in a roll-call of stores which have recently had their licences revoked.

Police said Silver Street failed four test purchases between October

2007 and February 2008. Three of these failures were within a three-month period, which contravenes the new provisions of the Licensing Act for persistently selling alcohol to children. The store is believed to be the first in South Yorkshire to be dealt with under this section.

It has now closed, meaning it avoids prosecution and a potential fine of £10,000, plus a licence suspension of up to three months.

PC Mark Satterley said: "The owner of the premises was given help and advice by the police over a two-year period, but there was no improvement, therefore we had to proceed. Licence holders will be dealt with and closed if they continually breach the Licensing Act."

Last month Worsley Food & Wine had its licence revoked after failing to comply with conditions imposed in an earlier licence review. The store failed more test purchases

and breached a ban on selling after 6pm on a Friday. The store's refusals book was also found to be inaccurate.

Ron Pennington, assistant director of Salford Trading Standards, said: "This is evidence that if off-licences fail to heed warnings, the authorities will come down hard. This is not a game. There was plenty of opportunity for the store to amend its working practices but it has demonstrated a blatant disregard for the conditions originally imposed."

In March, Joe's Corkscrew 's

licence was revoked after four failed test purchases and earlier

Shibdon Convenience Store suffered the same fate. The shop was accused of selling alcohol to children in school uniform and to adults who were clearly buying on behalf of under-18s.

Between the end of the school day and 9.30pm, staff sold

19 bottles of beer, 65 bottles of Lambrini, 42 cans of lager and two bottles of cider either to children or adults buying on their behalf.

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