Whitby shop has licence to sell alcohol revoked after two underage sales in three weeks

A shop in Whitby has had its licence to sell alcohol revoked after it twice sold alcohol to children under 18 in the space of three weeks.

Thursday, 20th December 2018, 9:27 am
Updated Thursday, 20th December 2018, 9:53 am
Spar Groceries, in Raglan Terrace, was found to have sold alcohol and cigarettes to underage customers twice in the space of three weeks.

Spar Groceries, in Raglan Terrace, was found to have sold alcohol and cigarettes to a 17-year-old boy and then alcohol to a 16-year-old girl sent in undercover by North Yorkshire County Council Trading Standards just 18 days later.

The offences happened in September and October this year.

Yesterday, Scarborough Council’s licensing sub-committee revoked the licence to sell alcohol after it was “left with no choice” following what committee chairman Cllr Simon Grenn called “serious” offence.

The committee was told the shop had a complicated naming and ownership history.

The licence holder and designated premises supervisor (DPS) is listed as a Mohammed Hussain, who was represented at today’s hearing by his son Ali. Mr Hussain owns the building but the freehold of the shop was sold on a 15-year lease 18 months ago to Jason Golding.

However, Mr Golding told the councillors that until recently he believed that the DPS was a man named Dennis Pottas.

The shop is listed on its licence as being called Spar Groceries but it is known in the town as the Happy Shopper. However, Mr Golding said he was changing its name to Fishburn Stores.

North Yorkshire Police had called for a review into the premises’ licence after it as investigating a stolen bank card.

PC Debbie Chadwick told the councillors that a PCSO had lost a bank card which had then been used to buy alcohol and cigarettes at Mr Golding’s shop.

When following up on the use of the stolen card a police officer recognised the boy in CCTV from the shop as having just turned 17 and alerted his colleagues who set up an undercover purchase with trading standards.

A 16-year-old girl wearing no make-up or anything to cover or hide her face was sent in and purchased alcohol. The committee heard that the girl “looked her age” and if asked for her age would tell the truth.

However, despite being asked for identification, which showed she was 16, she was still sold alcohol.

Mr Ali Hussain told the councillors that the shop had always been supportive of the police but admitted that “mistakes had been made”.

He said on the first occasion the 17-year-old had presented a fake passport to staff.

On the second he said the shop assistant had asked the 16-year-old girl for identification but had got the dates wrong.

He added: “The shop assistant had just lost her mother two days beforehand so that may explain why she got her dates mixed up.”

He added that since the notice of the review that policies had been put in place to ensure it would not happen again.

However, the committee revoked the licence due to concerns it had over the way the shop had been run.

Cllr Green said: “The members are of the view that there is clear evidence of persistent underage sales occurring at the premises."

The owners have 21 days to appeal. The revocation will not begin until any appeal has been heard.