Two Perry Barr shops could lose their licences for selling alcohol to underage teens
A second local shop in the Perry Barr and Great Barr area in the space of a week could lose its licence after being caught selling alcohol to underage girls
One Stop Food and Wine in Perry Barr
One Stop Food and Wine on Birchfield Road, Perry Barr, is due before the council’s licensing committee next week after selling a bottle of VK to two undercover teenage girls, aged 15 and 16, back in October.
This is the second local shop to come before the council’s licensing committee in the space of just a few days, with nearby Super Choice News and Booze in Perry Barr/ Great Barr also facing the loss of its licence after selling a bottle of WKD to a 15-year-old girl.
Both West Midlands Police (WMP) and Trading Standards are calling for One Stop Food and Wine’s licence to be revoked following the incident.
A decision on Super Choice is due this week after police claimed that the sale of alcohol to children appears to be ‘an ongoing problem’ at the shop.
They have argued for the shop to have its licence revoked after the underage girl was served at the shop in a test purchase by police.
The shop has refuted claims that the sale of alcohol to minors is an ‘ongoing problem’, with the owner explaining in a letter to the council that he faces bankruptcy if his licence is revoked.
What have police said about One Stop Food and Wine on Birchfield Road?
Police said in a statement: “On Wednesday 27th October 2021, Trading Standards conducted a city-wide enforcement exercise to ensure that traders were compliant with the current legislation with regard to age restricted sales.
“At approximately 11.12am two female volunteers aged 15 and 16 were instructed to enter the premises of One Stop Food and Wine … and attempt to purchase a bottle of alcohol from the premises.
“The two volunteers who were not wearing face masks, entered the store, walked over to the alcohol display shelving and selected a bottle of Blue Alcohol mix.
“The volunteers paid £2.79 after which they left the premises.
“The sale was observed by Trading Standards Enforcement Officer Paul Ellson who states that at no time were the two girls asked for any identification confirming their ages and no Challenge 21 or 25 was carried out.
“After the sale had been concluded officers Ellson and Williams, a Trading Standards officer, went back into the shop.
“Officer Ellson identified the seller … the same person who had sold the bottle of VK blue alcohol mix (which contains 4% alcohol per volume) to the two volunteers.”
The licensing committee is considering the application on January 17.
What did police say about the sale of alcohol to underage teens at Super Choice News on Walsall Road?
West Midlands Police called for a review of the licence for Super Choice News following two incidents, with a letter to the council reading: “The sale of alcohol to children appears to be an on-going problem at this premises.
“The fact the member of staff behind the till didn’t take any notice or challenge the child would indicate that selling alcohol to children is the norm in this premises.
“It has been noted that Trading Standards had previously visited in May 21 after receiving intelligence that the premises had sold alcohol to two 15 year old girls.
“On this occasion the premises was left a ‘Traders Notice’ by Trading Standards Officers who also spoke with Mr Sajjad (the premises licence holder and DPS) on the phone regarding the allegation, as he was not at the premises at the time of the visit.
“Only 5 months after the first visit, Trading Standards carried a test purchase operation using a 15 year old girl volunteer. The child was sold alcohol by the member of staff at the premises without question, not being asked for ID and in fact not even coming off the phone to serve her. Again, as the previous visit, the DPS & PLH was not at the premises.”
A witness statement from one of the officers on duty details how the girl was able to obtain a bottle of WKD during her visit in October without any issue, with the staff member ‘so uninterested in the purchase she remained on her mobile phone throughout’, according to the officer.
And the police say this incident has left them with no confidence in the licence holder, with a statement reading: “The sale of alcohol to children can only be monetary led and profit orientated. The possible consequences of such actions seemingly of no concern as long as money is ‘going in the till.’
“The effect of alcohol on children can be devastating and they are at increased risk of poor health, committing crime, being sexually exploited and poor educational results and missing periods of schooling. Drinking alcohol can affect a child’s normal development of vital organs and their functions including the brain, liver, bones and hormones.
“It is also noted that the premises have the following conditions imposed on their premises licence: The premises should adopt a challenge 21 policy – obviously this has not been the case.
“West Midlands Police have no confidence in the management of these premises promoting the licensing objectives especially the protection of children from harm, prevention of crime & disorder and public safety, putting money and profit over their legal and moral responsibilities.”
What did the owner of Super Choice News say in response?
Responding to the allegations Mr Sajjad said: “I do not wish to participate nor be represented at the hearing. This is because I feel it is not necessary, as I will list reasons below in my defence. My statement as as follows:
“1. I wish to totally refute that this has been an ongoing problem at the premises.
“2. Regarding the incident in May 2021, I was at the time visiting Pakistan due to family problems. Due to Covid, I got stuck in the country for much longer than planned and had intended. I had left an additional member of staff and my wife to run the store. It is my opinion, that although I has given them both adequate training and warnings, that these unfortunately were not followed through.
“3. On the second time or the latest occasion, my wife was on the phone because her aunt had just passed away in Pakistan and she was in a very distressed state. The customer to whom the alcohol was sold was masked due to the Covid protection and was well built and tall and thus appeared to be an adult. It was because of this that this very serious mistake was made. We both apologise profusely for these two incidents.
“4. I have since this incident, updated the training of my wife Asma Nosheen Sajjad, to ensure that nothing like this will ever occur again.
“5. I humbly request that my licence is not revoked, as it is the main means of my livelihood. I cannot make enough money from the other items sold on the premises to meet the very high overhead costs. I will therefore be forced into bankruptcy and close down. Also, If I were to try and sell the business, it will be very unlikely that I could sell it without the permission to sell Alcohol. This is because of the location of the premises and the very high overhead costs attached, as I have been advised by estate agents.”
The hearing is due to take place today Wednesday (January 12).
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