Sutton Bridge shop has licence revoked after illegal worker sold 15-year-olds alcohol

A Sutton Bridge shop where 15-year-olds were served alcohol by an illegal worker has had its licence revoked.

South Holland District Council’s Licencing Panel has revoked the premises licence of City Stores in Bridge Road held by Arumugam Sarankan following a hearing today (Wednesday, October 20).

The report by the police to the council states that on August 24, two 15-year-old ‘test purchaser’s bought a bottle of pink Hooch of four per cent alcohol.

They were asked for ID, but were sold the drink anyway when they told the server they’d left them at home.

Police and Trading Standards then entered and found that the person working in the shop was Sri Lankan whose right to work visa expired in 2014.

Other issues brought up by Lincolnshire Police included issues with the CCTV, a lack of evidence of age checks having been carried out and of staff training.

The panels decision states: “The premises licence holder does not dispute that criminal activity has taken place at the premises, namely the employment of an illegal worker and the underage sale of alcohol.

“The Premises Licence holder also accepts that employees have not held a personal licence and despite this were conducting the sale of alcohol which is a breach of condition.

“Indeed, he acknowledged during the course of the hearing that the premises were open, and this would still be the case.

“The premises licence holder considers that they are not in breach of the conditions concerning CCTV, incident and refusals log, training and age verification policy.

“However, the panel considers there is a breach of these conditions in that the CCTV has not been working correctly or records kept for sufficient time and in accordance with the specification of Lincolnshire Police.

“Whilst the panel accepts that evidence has been provided of training material, the panel does not consider that this substantiates and proves that staff have been adequately trained.

“The premises licence holder produced an incident and refusals log at the Hearing. The Police raised concerns about its validity and the Panel have taken on board the comments made by the Police in terms of the entries being of similar handwriting.

“The panel have no confidence in the management of the premises and that the conditions of the Premises Licence will be adhered to in the future.

“The panel have considered the conditions put forward by the Premises Licence holder, but they do not consider that these add any weight, as the current conditions are not being complied with and therefore the panel revokes the Premises Licence.”

Coun Anthony Casson, South Holland District Council portfolio holder for public protection, said: “It is always shocking to hear when something like this takes place in our District, and I am extremely pleased that our Licensing Panel has taken the strongest action available to us against these premises today by revoking their Licence.

“The safety and well-being of our residents is always the primary concern of the Panel, and it is important that as a council we set the clear expectation that we cannot and will not tolerate illegal behaviour that puts children and young people at risk.”

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