Council to review Letchworth Grange Wine Store's licence after police investigation

THE future of an off-licence s legal right to sell alcohol will be discussed by councillors after complaints of sales to under-age children. North Herts District Council s licensing and appeals committee will review the licence at the Grange Wine Store,

THE future of an off-licence's legal right to sell alcohol will be discussed by councillors after complaints of sales to under-age children.

North Herts District Council's licensing and appeals committee will review the licence at the Grange Wine Store, The Parade, Southfields, Letchworth GC, when it meets on November 23.

The decision to review the store's alcohol licence comes after an investigation by police into sales to under-age people and complaints by residents of drunken youths causing anti-social behaviour near the shop.

A report says: "Dating back to October, 2006, police have received intelligence as well as reports from members of the public that strongly suggest staff at the Grange Wine Store are selling alcohol and cigarettes to young people who are under 18 years of age."


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The report details two test purchasing operations in which a 16-year-old girl was sold alcohol by the shop's joint licence holder Hitesh Chandarana.

But two further test operations to buy tobacco and alcohol resulted in no sale.

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In June police received a call from a member of the public saying 10 to 15 youths were outside the store drinking alcohol but did not look old enough to be drinking alcohol and a couple of them "were so intoxicated they couldn't stand up".

Pc Steve Gibbs, anti-social behaviour officer in North Herts said "concerns have been highlighted and raised in respect of the sale of age restricted products to persons under 18 by staff at the Grange Wine Store".

The report concludes: "The police take the view that a review of the premises licence at the Grange Wine Store is now required to promote the licensing objective that relates to the protection of children from harm.

"The desired outcome is the implementation of measures that will ensure the staff robustly challenge potential under age and proxy purchasers and refuse to sell alcohol in such cases."

NHDC has listed 18 conditions that will be considered in its final summary including a challenge 25 policy where all persons believed to be under 25 will be asked for proof of age through a driving licence, passport or accredited ID card; a refusals book will be made available to police, PCSOs, local authority licensing officers and Trading Standards officers and signs displayed in prominent locations highlighting that sales of alcohol will not be made to persons under 18 or persons purchasing alcohol on behalf of persons under 18.

Item 13 in the summary says the licence holder and the designated premises supervisor must ensure that the CCTV system adequately covers the front entrance to the store, customer service point and alcohol display and will ensure that unedited copies can be provided to police not later that 24 hours after request and kept for a minimum of 28 days.

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