Off-licence sold alcohol and cigarettes to girls, 14By Stephen Lloyd
February 18, 2013
A FLEET store could have its licence revoked after selling alcohol and cigarettes to a group of 14-year-old girls.
The future of Julian’s Off Licence, in Fleet Road, is in doubt as Hampshire County Council’s Trading Standards has called for a review of its premises licence following the incident in November last year.
A three-member panel of Hart District Council’s licensing committee will decide what action to take on February 20.
In a report to the committee, principal licensing officer David King said Trading Stan-dards received an allegation from an ‘extremely concerned’ parent stating her 14-year-old daughter and three of her friends of the same age had bought alcohol from the store on November 23.
Mr King said Abdul Chow-dhury, from the nearby WE Restaurant, was the premises licence holder at the time of the alleged sale. Trading Stan-dards and the police met with Mr Chowdhury four days later.
Mr King said the premises did have a digital CCTV system in place but Mr Chowdhury was unable to operate it to access any images.
“He did inform the officers that he had installed a separate CCTV system, which he monitored remotely from his office in the nearby WE restaurant”, states his report.
“Mr Chowdhury also informed officers the designated premises supervisor on the premises licence, Mr Oktay Dasdelan, had left the premises three weeks previously.
“There was therefore no designated premises supervisor or personal licence holder in situ to authorise sale of alcohol at the time of the alleged sale of alcohol, nor had there been for some weeks, according to Mr Chowdhury”.
Mr King said CCTV images from the store showed four ‘very young girls’ enter the shop at 7.23pm and talk to an Asian male shop assistant. The same assistant was seen to walk to a shelf containing spirits and then place a bottle of alcohol directly into one of the girl’s handbags. Mr King said he also selected a packet of 20 cigarettes and placed them on the counter.
“One of the young girls picked them up, money was seen to be exchanged and the four young girls left the shop”, he added.
Mr King said the shop assistant involved was identified as Mujamel Chowdhury, who was interviewed by Trading Standards officers.
“In mitigation he said the girls had said the alcohol and cigarettes were for one of the girls’ mother who was unwell and unable to get them for herself”, states Mr King’s report.
It adds Mujamel Chowdhury received an £80 fixed penalty ticket for selling the alcohol and a written warning for selling the tobacco.
Mr King said Trading Standards are now requesting a suspension of the premises licence until further conditions are attached, including staff training. He added police were seeking extra conditions, such as a personal licence holder being present at all times and that no person under the age of 18 be allowed to enter the store unless accompanied by someone over 18.
Councillors could take a number of steps, which include removing the designated premises supervisor from
the licence, suspending the licence for a period not exceeding three months or revoking it entirely.