Off-licence’s ‘shock’ at police swoop

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THE owners of an off-licence say they were “shocked” when police swooped on Monday to confiscate alcohol because they believed an appeal had been lodged against a four-week licence suspension.

Bargain Booze in Bridge Road, Sutton Bridge, was ordered to close by South Holland District Council’s licensing committee after it was caught by police and trading standards selling alcohol to under-18s. The owners were given 21 days from December 9 to appeal before the suspension came into effect.

But test purchases on Saturday and Monday proved that alcohol was still being sold, so officers stepped in to empty the shelves to prevent further sales from the unlicensed premises.

A statement by a Bargain Booze chain spokesman said: “While it has always been the owner’s intention to appeal, and he had already advised his representatives as such, an error has led to the appeal not being submitted when the court believed it should have been.

“The first thing the owner knew about the appeal not being submitted ‘on time’ was when police turned up at their shop to take all licensed products from the premises on Monday.

“They were understandably shocked. A four-week suspension will have a devastating impact on this local business and obviously it is still the owner’s intention to appeal, if they are allowed to do so.”