MP calls for inquiry into ‘irresponsible’ drink delivery firm

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt
Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt
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AN MP has called for an inquiry into a mobile drink service that delivers alcohol after hours.

Portsmouth North MP Penny Mordaunt has asked the Chief Constable of Hampshire Constabulary to look into After Shottz, which delivers alcohol, cigarettes and condoms. Mr Marshall has asked to be briefed on the issue.

Ms Mordaunt discovered the service, which delivers to the PO area between 8pm and 5am and was granted a licence by Portsmouth City Council, after leaflets were distributed to thousands of homes.

She said: ‘This is definitely something we should be concerned about. It smacks of irresponsibility.

‘Just because it’s not people drinking on the street and drinking at home instead, it doesn’t mean it’s not causing problems and anti-social behaviour. House parties can still get out of control.

‘At a time when we’re restricting licences for pubs and restaurants, it seems strange we’re permitting licences for this kind of service. We need to have a bit of consistency in the direction we’re heading.’

Ms Mordaunt said she met Mr Marshall and he assured her he would look into the matter.

Mr Marshall said: ‘Alcohol plays a big part in domestic violence and alcohol-related violence late at night is a high priority for police.

‘I want all licensed premises in Hampshire, retailers as well as venues, to take a responsible approach to the sale of alcohol and the effects it has on the wider community. We will look to close down or impose conditions upon any problem licensed premises or alcohol retailer.’

Meanwhile health officials have raised concerns about drink being readily available in the city – which has the highest drink-related hospital admissions in the south east.

Dr Paul Edmondson-Jones, director of public health for NHS Portsmouth, said: ‘We need to restrict the supply of alcohol and not make it even more readily available. The culture of “booze on tap 24 hours a day” is one that horrifies me. At some point society has to take a stand and say “this is something we do not want”.’

After Shottz, which promises to ‘keep your party fuelled throughout the night’, was granted a licence in November. A previous application was denied due to police concerns over staff training, how the company would ID customers, and the safety of vehicles. These were addressed.

Paul Lynam, joint owner of the company, said: ‘If people are going to drink, they’re going to drink. We’re not doing anything wrong. This is a completely legitimate business. Other places have this service.

‘It’s not just young people who use us. A lot of middle-aged people do. We’ve done 310 jobs since starting and we’ve had no trouble.’

The city council said a licence was granted because no objections were made the second time round. Objections have to relate to the prevention of crime and disorder, public safety, prevention of nuisance and protection of children from harm. Public health is not a consideration.

Nickii Humphreys, the council’s licensing manager, said: ‘In the absence of any representations, the law states that the licence must be granted.’

She added: ‘The council will always respond to and investigate complaints where there are concerns that a licence holder may not be complying with the law or the terms of a licence. No complaints or other information have come to light in respect of this particular licence.’