A HOTEL is facing council action after been caught selling alcohol to underage children three times in four months.
Holiday Inn Express in Eastern Road, Farlington, could lose its licence after hotel staff served alcohol to three different 16-year-olds on three separate occasions earlier this year.
The premises licence holder has a challenge 25 policy, has trained the staff members responsible and placed conditions onto the licence to minimise the risk. However, children continued to be solved alcohol at the premisesPC Pete Rackham, Hampshire Constabulary licensing officer
The hotel had been given a warning from the police after the first two occasions in March and April – which were both observed by a plain-clothes officer.
It led to a 96-hour closure notice at the end of May with the hotel putting up clear Challenge 25 signage, a written age-verification policy and a refusals log in place.
But on July 1, a third test purchase led to a 16-year-old once again being served by a member of staff – also witnessed by a plain-clothes officer – and the string of failures has led to the police calling for a review of the hotel’s licence next Tuesday.
PC Pete Rackham, Hampshire Constabulary licensing officer said the force were in a ‘quandary’ as the premises had put measures in place to prevent alcohol being sold to children.
He said in his application for the review: ‘As a result of three successive sales of alcohol to children despite engagement with the police and despite measures put in place to prevent this, the police had no option but to request a review.
‘The premises licence holder has a Challenge 25 policy, has trained the staff members responsible and placed conditions on to the licence to minimise the risk.
‘However, children continued to be solved alcohol at the premises.’
Earlier this year, the hotel was one of three Portsmouth premises caught selling alcohol to children – with both All Bar One and Bowlplex at Gunwharf Quays also failing.
It is now up to the city council’s sub-licensing committee to make a decision on what to do with the licence.
It could be revoked, suspended, have requirements added to it or councillors could decide to do nothing.
Nickii Humphreys, the council’s licensing manager said the hotel had ‘fully engaged’ with the police in terms of the measures taken to tackle alcohol sales to children.
She said: ‘However, despite this intervention and evidenced due diligence, it is of grave concern that the sale of alcohol to children has persisted.’
The meeting takes place at the Guildhall at 9.30am.
The News approached Holiday Inn Express for comment ahead of printing last night.