Southsea store faces fight to keep its alcohol licence after selling cider to teenagers

A teenage undercover alcohol test purchaser Picture posed by model
A teenage undercover alcohol test purchaser Picture posed by model
Picture: Shaun Roster

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A Southsea convenience store could lose its licence after staff were caught selling alcohol to teenagers.

Trading standards officers have prepared a report on Seven Days on Osborne Road following a string of policy breaches and failures to comply, including the sale of cider to undercover customers aged below 18.

Councillors will discuss the issue next week and could revoke or suspend the licence.

They are also suggesting the removal of the current designated premises supervisor, Indrani Alekhya Midde, and taking away the store’s authority to appoint a new one.

A Portsmouth City Council spokesperson said: ‘We always work with businesses to support them and ensure they understand and follow the rules relating to their licences, but where businesses break the rules we won’t hesitate to take action. Selling alcohol to minors is clearly a very serious breach of licensing rules, which is why it is going before the committee for consideration.’

This incident happened in July when a 16-year-old girl was sold a bottle of Old Mout cider. Two months later the offence was repeated when a staff member sold four cans of Carling black fruits cider to a 15-year-old boy.

In both instances the staff members responsible were fined £90. Miss Midde was not there during either incident.

The Premier shop, previously Osborne Wines, first came under fire in December 2016 when it was discovered that it did not have a full premises licence summary or statutory tobacco sign on display. It also did not have a training register and its log detailing refusals to sell alcohol was not kept up to date.

Since then trading standards have reported further offences. These included failure to gain permission to sell beer with seven per cent alcohol content, not training staff how to use CCTV, selling e-cigarettes without correct health warnings and instructions and allowing staff without personal licences to sell alcohol.

In a licensing committee report Miss Midde was quoted as saying: ‘I would like to apologise to the licensing committee and the responsible authorities that it has been necessary to review the premises licence.’

She stated that all the requirements of trading standards have now been met and added: ‘Please allow the premises to continue to trade.’

Seven Days will be discussed at a Portsmouth City Council licensing committee meeting next Wednesday. If its licence is not revoked or suspended it is likely staff will be required to ID every single sale of alcohol and attend yearly refresher courses.

Miss Midde was unavailable for comment.