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Spalding off-licence has right to sell alcohol revoked by South Holland District Council for its 'astounding lack of knowledge' about lawful trading




A Spalding shop has lost its licence to sell alcohol after police accused management "actively and intentionally committing criminal acts".

Spalding Express, of Commercial Road, Spalding, had its premises licence revoked by South Holland District Council after a hearing yesterday (Thursday).

The council's licensing panel acted on evidence gathered over five visits throughout 2018 by Lincolnshire Police, trading standards and district council licensing officers.

Management of the Spalding Express shop in Commercial Road, Spalding, have 21 days to appeal against a decision to revoke its premises licence. Photo (Tim Wilson): SG-040119-004TW
Management of the Spalding Express shop in Commercial Road, Spalding, have 21 days to appeal against a decision to revoke its premises licence. Photo (Tim Wilson): SG-040119-004TW

Numerous breaches were discovered, including the sale of illegal foreign alcohol in September and October 2018.

There was also evidence that beers and vodkas were being sold below the mandatory price and with an alcohol percentage above the maximum allowed within the shop's licence.

During a visit on September 25, 2018, Lincolnshire Trading Standards officers found smuggled bottles of vodka for sale at Spalding Express, but without any UK duty stamps on them.

Neither management nor staff at the shop were able to provide any receipts or invoices to show that the vodka had been legitimately bought.

Management of the Spalding Express shop in Commercial Road, Spalding, had its licence to sell alcohol revoked by South Holland District Council after a hearing on Thursday. Photo (Tim Wilson): SG-040119-003TW.
Management of the Spalding Express shop in Commercial Road, Spalding, had its licence to sell alcohol revoked by South Holland District Council after a hearing on Thursday. Photo (Tim Wilson): SG-040119-003TW.

Officers also found that the bottles had no English labelling and there was no premises license on display in the shop.

A second visit in October 3, 2018, by Lincolnshire Police and South Holland District Council officers resulted in beer being found for sale that were not individually priced.

The beer also had an alcohol percentage of nine per cent ABV (alcohol by volume), stronger than the 6.5% allowed in the licence conditions.

In addition, staff and the premises licence holder Majid Rostam Mohamed were unable to operate the CCTV camera in the shop and could not present training records or evidence of having a policy regarding under-age sales.

This was compounded by the fact that there was no logbook for refusal of sales or other incidents present at the shop, a requirement for all premises licence holders.

South Holland District Council, Spalding. Photo: SG290114-223NG. (6458630)
South Holland District Council, Spalding. Photo: SG290114-223NG. (6458630)

Further visits during November and December 2018 uncovered many of the same concerns, including the discovery of cider with an ABV of seven per cent.

A search of the premises by police discovered other suspicious behaviour, including a logbook

recording the brands of several illegal cigarettes, with figures alongside them.

Mohamed was present at the hearing where the licensing panel ruled that his premises licence should be revoked, subject to appeal, following repeated breaches of the conditions of the licence and a lack of confidence in him.

The panel's decision was also made on the basis of smuggled alcohol having been found on the premises.

Coun Angela Harrison, chairman of the licensing panel, said: "The premises licence holder showed an astounding lack of knowledge of the licensing objectives and of the conditions on the licence.

Couns Anthony Casson, the district council's portfolio holder for public protection, with licensing panel chairman Coun Angela Harrison. Photo supplied by South Holland District Council.
Couns Anthony Casson, the district council's portfolio holder for public protection, with licensing panel chairman Coun Angela Harrison. Photo supplied by South Holland District Council.

"An explanation from the premises licence holder that the bottles of vodka placed at the shop, with a price on them, in September 2018 as a joke by another party lacked credibility.

"There has never been any evidence to show training and compliance with the 'Challenge 25' policy (a retailing strategy that encourages anyone who is over 18 but looks under 25 to carry acceptable ID if they wish to buy alcohol) that is again a condition of the licence.

"Each sale of alcohol, whilst conditions are not being complied with, amounts to an offence in its own right.

"In light of the repeated breaches of the licensing conditions, the lack of confidence in the premises licence holder and the presence of smuggled alcohol at the premises, the panel determined that the only way in which the licensing objectives would be promoted is to revoke the premises licence."

Mohamed has the right of appeal to magistrates within 21 days of being informed of the licensing panel's decision.

In the meantime, Spalding Express's premises licence is still active.



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