Ludlow retailer has premises licence suspended
Public protection officers have welcomed the decision of Shropshire Council’s Licensing Act Sub-Committee on Wednesday 28 August 2013 to suspend for two weeks a Ludlow retailer’s premises licence, and to the removal of the Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS), following two separate sales of alcohol to minors.
The Costcutter store in Ludlow was visited by public protection officers early in 2013 as part of a market surveillance exercise to assess the willingness of retailers to sell alcohol to minors. During this exercise a bottle of Smirnoff Ice was sold to an underage volunteer. A follow up visit was undertaken a couple of months later which again resulted with an illegal sale, this time of Strongbow cider. Both sales were made by family members of the premises licence holder.
An application for a licence review was submitted by public protection officers over concerns that the operation of the Costcutter store was undermining the licensing objective of ‘protecting children from harm’. A hearing was held on 28 August in Shrewsbury where, in addition to the suspension of the premises licence and the removal of the DPS, the committee imposed a further five conditions to be added to the premises licence which will help to prevent further illegal sales at the premises.
Following the licence review, Frances Darling, service manager for safer and stronger communities within public protection, said:
“The public protection service will from time-to-time undertake alcohol test purchasing exercises at retail premises using underage individuals. Any person found to sell alcohol during these operations may be issued with a Fixed Penalty Notice, or in certain cases a formal investigation can be undertaken which could result in legal proceedings. However, in addition to this, the service is also able to request a licence review where the business activities are believed to undermine one of the licensing objectives. A licence review could result in additional compulsory conditions being placed on the business, suspension of the licence for a set time, or in the most extreme cases a licence can be revoked thus preventing licensable activities, like selling alcohol, from being undertaken at those premises.”
Steve Charmley, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member responsible for public protection, added:
“Selling alcohol to minors is a serious matter, and retailers must remain diligent at all times. Underage drinking has implications for the health of the minors as well as their safety whilst under the influence. Adopting a ‘challenge 25’ policy and asking for appropriate ID is the best way to prevent illegal sales, and if any retailer wishes to receive any further advice or guidance in this I would recommend they make contact with the public protection team. Many of our county’s towns operate a Community Alcohol Partnership, and I would encourage retailers to sign up to this initiative and take advantage of the advice and training that can be offered.”
Any businesses wishing to seek further advice can contact the public protection service on 0345 678 9000 or general advice can be found on our website here.