Temporary licence suspension for Littlehampton shop that sold cider to 16-year-old

Tuesday, 8 March 2022 06:00

By Jessica Hubbard - Local Democracy Reporter

A Littlehampton shop owner will have his alcohol licence temporarily suspended after cider was sold to a 16-year-old.

Arun District Council’s licensing sub-committee approved a seven-day suspension of Sussex News’ alcohol licence at a meeting on Monday (March 7).

This comes after a member of staff at the Surrey Street convenience store sold two bottles of cider to a 16-year-old in November. Licensing officers said they hoped it would send a ‘clear message to the local community’ that under-age sales ‘will not be tolerated’. 

The sub-committee agreed that the suspension, alongside the appointment of a new designated premises supervisor (DPS) within eight weeks, was a ‘pragmatic way forward’.

The owner of Sussex News, Khawar Shahzad, was present at the hearing on Monday morning.

He previously said he was ‘extremely sorry’ following the events and that the staff member responsible for the under-age sales ‘did not check ID’.

“When someone starts work in my business, the first word of training is ‘no ID, no sale’,” Mr Shahzad said, “but some people don’t follow [this].”
“We are extremely sorry.”

Sarah Meeten, licensing team manager at ADC, said: “Discussions have taken place during the last week with the agent for the premises licence holder.

“The licence holder accepts responsibility for the offences that were committed and for the failings that were uncovered following inspections by authorities over the last few months.

“He sincerely apologises and says that he took his eye off the ball.

“He would like to remedy this situation and acknowledges that there were failings with the operation of the premises.

“He is keen to work with the authorities and he acknowledges that the restoration of promotion of the licensing objectives is important.”

Trading Standards had asked for the shop’s alcohol licence to be reviewed and this was supported by Sussex Police. West Sussex Trading Standards officers visited the convenience store in November after receiving reports that e-liquids were being sold to minors through a practise known as ‘proxy purchasing’.

But, just two days later, a staff member at the shop sold two bottles of cider to a 16-year-old volunteer during a test purchase carried out by Trading Standards.

Several visits in January and February also found ‘numerous breaches of the licence’.

The licensing sub-committee’s decision means that the shop’s alcohol licence will not be reviewed for now.

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