“We will never give up on our fight to stop off-licences selling alcohol illegally.” This is the vow from police after another Eastern European shop, Liudwai of Holbeach, was stripped of its premises licence for selling alcohol to an underage boy.
The frustrations of Lincolnshire Police’s Alcohol Licensing Department and South Holland District Council’s licensing panel in operating within the Licensing Act of 2003 have become evident in recent weeks.
We need the public to tell us whenever they see any shops breaking the lawSgt Kim Enderby, of Lincolnshire Police Alcohol Licensing Department
Even before the panel had made its decision on Tuesday about Liudwai selling booze to a 16-year-old, businessman John Ashing announced he was applying for a transfer of the premises licence.
Now, the Guardian can reveal that Global Foods in Spalding, which had its licence revoked in September for selling smuggled alcohol, is also applying for a transfer of premises licence at a meeting of the panel on Wednesday.
Sgt Kim Enderby, of Lincolnshire Police Alcohol Licensing Department, said: “People don’t understand, when licences are revoked, why the shops carry on selling alcohol.
“They get 21 days to appeal and, if they do, that can take up to two years to come before the magistrates.
“In that time someone can come along and apply for a transfer of premises licence and, when the appeal does come before the magistrates, the new holder says ‘well that wasn’t anything to do with us’.
“During all of this time the premises licence holder could carry on selling alcohol – it’s not like having your driving licence taken away when you are not allowed to drive from the point.
“The Licensing Act has so many flaws and after ten years we are seeing them now.
“It’s so frustrating. You might ask why we bother, but we will never give up on stopping off-licences selling alcohol illegally.
“We will carry on for all of those corner shops who are running their businesses properly.
“It must be hard when they know that down the street there is a shop selling alcohol or cigarettes illegally, or selling to underage children – in these hard times it must be a temptation.
“But we will never give up and we need the public to help us. Whenever they see any shops breaking the law, tell us.”