Shop has licence revoked for selling alcohol to street drinkers
Brighton & Hove’s Licensing Panel on Tuesday, 20 August revoked the alcohol licence of the B & W Stores, 29 York Place, Brighton, for systematically selling super strength alcohol to street drinkers, despite warnings from the police and the local authority.
There was also evidence of sales to underage children at the off-licence.
The London Road Local Action Team requested a review of the licence and representations were made by 24 different organisations, residents and businesses. The Panel heard evidence from Sussex Police, the local councillor, Brighton Housing Trust which has an office nearby, Brighton & Hove Trading Standards and the licensing officer.
The Licensing Panel provided an opportunity for the local community to question the designated premises supervisor Wahid Ibrahim about street drinkers regularly purchasing alcohol in his shop and why he had not taken action to stop these sales.
Recently Mr Ibrahim volunteered to put a condition on the licence not to sell alcohol with an ABV content above 6% but the panel felt the measure was too little, too late and was also concerned about the lack of training for staff.
Mr Ibrahim was questioned about how often he was present at the premises when he had other business interests, acting as a medical consultant and as licence holder of a premises in another town.
Chair of the Panel, councillor Lizzie Deane, said: “We listened carefully to all the evidence and took into account the long-standing problems there have been at this premises.
“We heard evidence from the police and trading standards that alcohol was served in their presence to people already inebriated and also to underage children. We heard from the police that this area is a crime and disorder hot spot.
“We took into account the effects of selling alcohol on health and antisocial behaviour and we didn’t think that adding more conditions or removing the licence holder would be sufficient, nor did we feel that suspending the licence would work because there has been plenty of opportunity to improve.”
B & W Stores were given a series of ‘yellow cards’ by the police and local authority dating back to 2009.
Further evidence supplied by Sussex Police detailed 33 separate alcohol-related incidents in York Place between 1 April and 1 August.
Cllr Deane added: “The Panel felt the only course of action left to us was to revoke the licence in order to protect the public.”
Dr Tom Scanlon, Director of Public Health for Brighton & Hove City Council, said: “We know that alcohol brings many economic benefits to the city but local residents will be all too aware of the problems that it brings as well. I am really pleased to see that the Licensing Panel took firm action with someone who was clearly endangering the health of adults and children by repeatedly selling alcohol to people who were already drunk, or under-aged.
“We want to work with businesses so that we have high standards of alcohol retailing in Brighton & Hove and I am happy to say that many are co-operating, but if license holders are intent on breaching their conditions and endangering the health and wellbeing of residents and visitors, then this action shows that the council will not sit by and watch.”
Also on the Panel were councillor Dee Simson and councillor Penny Gilbey.