TWO convenience stores that sponsor youth football teams have had their licences suspended for a month after they sold alcohol to underage children.
Jagdish Patel and wife Netra own Select and Save, in Park House Farm Way, and Stop and Shop, in Middle Park Way, Leigh Park.
Last autumn two 16-year-old police volunteers made visits to both shops where they were served alcohol.
Following those failed test purchases Mr Patel and another member of staff were given £80 fixed penalty notices.
Despite advice from Trading Standards and police, both shops failed two further test purchases for booze in December, which led to yesterday’s licensing review at Havant Borough Council.
In the weeks leading up to the review 200 customers signed a letter of support.
The hearing also heard that the couple raise hundreds of pounds for charity and sponsor Hayling United FC and Hawks football teams.
But Paul Worrall, from Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards, said: ‘They both passionately don’t want to make failures but, unfortunately, they have had a serious catalogue of failures, as you will hear.’
He went on: ‘The review is really to wake the Patels up and say, “this is really, really serious”.’
‘They’re drinking at the last chance saloon. This is a shot across the bows, a need to draw a line in the sand.’
To avoid prosecution on the test purchases the couple earlier agreed to stop selling alcohol for seven days. That period concluded on April 10.
And to avoid a complete revocation of their licence they also offered to stop selling alcohol for 28 days – which the licensing panel agreed to.
The hearing was told how the suspension will have a huge financial impact on their business.
Mrs Patel will also take over from her husband as designated premises supervisor.
Other strict conditions include training and keeping a record of all refusals to sell alcohol.
They must also strictly enforce the Challenge 25 policy.
Speaking afterwards Mr said: ‘We apologise. We put our hands up, we have made mistakes.’