Off licence linked to alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour sold Stella Artois to girls aged 15
By Mike Brown
December 31, 2015
When licensing officers challenged the shop assistant, he could not access the CCTV system and said he needed an interpreter
A store which sold booze to 15-year-olds and has been linked to alcohol fuelled anti-social behaviour has lost its drinks licence.
Councillors stepped in after Middis Mini Market, on Borough Road in Middlesbrough, after complaints from police, ward councillors and residents.
Licensing officers from Cleveland Police monitored the store and discovered anti-social behaviour and underage drinking.
Police logs revealed reports of gangs of youths setting fires, throwing fireworks, eggs and stones – and even dropping bollards from a nearby bridge.
Reports of drunks causing nuisance close to the shop, and walking in the middle of the busy road while under the influence, were also recorded.
Two 15-year-old girls were sold Stella Artois lager at the shop in January 2015 – and when officers challenged the shop assistant, he could not access the CCTV system and said he needed an interpreter.
There was confusion about who was in day-to-day control of the premises, with staff members being “evasive and somewhat obstructive” when visited by officers.
When a licensing check was carried out on October 20, police found:
- No training records were present for staff members;
- The Designated Premises Supervisor had been unable to access the CCTV system to demonstrate 31 days of recording;
- Two brands of “perry” products were on sale at the premises;
- The refusals book had not had any entries since February 2014;
- The incident book had not had any entries since May 2014, however there had been incidents reported to the police since.
Edward Kunonga, director of public health at Middlesbrough Council, wrote in a report: “It is our opinion that this premise is being operated in such a manner which undermines the public safety, prevention of crime and disorder and protection of children from harm licensing objectives.
“The availability of alcohol to young people increases their vulnerability and the risks to their health and safety. Consumption of alcohol at an early age can have serious implications for long term health and wellbeing.
“It is also evident that the police have identified breaches of licensing conditions in relation to the sale of “perry” products. These products have been identified as being highly desirable to young people as they are cheap to buy and have quite a strong ABV content (7.5%).”
Middlesbrough Council said in a report that “although none of the incidents could be directly attributable” to the Middis Mini Market, “there was evidence of problems of anti-social behaviour and underage sales of alcohol in the vicinity of the premises”.
The premises licence holder, Balajeevani Sinnathurai, has 21 days to appeal the decision.