Licence ban for shop that sold alcohol to kids

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A SHOP caught repeatedly selling alcohol to children in undercover stings has had its licence revoked.

Licence holder Rakesh Basra sold a bottle of 14.5 per cent Sidekick and 10 Mayfair cigarettes to a person under 18 at Stop N Go in a trading standards operation.

At the time the shop’s licence had already been suspended for three months over poor record-keeping and alcohol being sold to a child previously.

The store’s licence could have been reinstated after the initial three-month suspension – if no more incidents had occurred and Mr Basra and his wife Parveen had adhered to conditions including both passing a premises licence holder training test.

But now Portsmouth City Council licensing councillors have decided the pair should be banned from selling alcohol for good.

Neil Fitzpatrick, principal trading standards officer, said: ‘Based on the evidence presented by our service in respect of Stop N Go, the licensing subcommittee saw fit to revoke the premises’ licence and the owners now have 21 days to appeal from the decision date.

‘Trading Standards along with their partner agencies have made every effort over a substantial period of time to assist the owners with a number of issues but their blatant disregard of our advice and failure to adhere to the suspension that was in place has now led to the loss of their licence.

‘I hope the revocation sends out a strong message to other retailers who choose not trade in a legitimate way. Such are the repercussions of illegal alcohol sales we simply can’t stand by whilst traders break the law.’

Mr Basra has run Stop N Go, in Arundel Street, Landport, Portsmouth, with his wife for 16 years and collected a 200-signature petition in support of the shop’s licence being kept.

He feels the store is being unfairly targeted and is now considering appealing the decision.

Mr Basra said: ‘This guy came in. He was acting very suspiciously. That’s the reason I got distracted – I had my mind on him. It’s blown out of proportion. I feel I’m being targeted by the council.

‘It was a mistake. I’m here to serve the community, I’m not here to break the law.’

Mrs Basra said: ‘It is a very unfair decision that has been made. I’m going to lose my livelihood as well.

‘A couple of times we have had problems with pupils coming in from St Edmund’s Catholic School when they should have been in class and we phoned the school straight away. The school wrote in support of us as well.

‘We are all human and can make a mistake.’