A Brighton shop has been told to stop selling alcoholic drinks for three months after a licensing review.
Pop In Store, also known as the North Road Store, in North Road, Brighton, was accused of selling stolen and smuggled beers and spirits.
Trading standards officers from Brighton and Hove City Council found champagne on sale that had been produced exclusively for Marks and Spencer.
Shop manager Tayfun Kara and his wife Zohre Kara, the premises licence holder, could not explain where it had come from or why it was on sale for half the M&S price.
Trading standards manager Jo Player told a council licensing panel: “Alcohol has been discovered on the premises which is reasonably believed to be stolen.
“Alcohol has been discovered on the premises which is reasonably believed to be non duty paid (smuggled).
“Invoices provided do not relate to all of the alcohol.
“The premises are a source of alcohol to the street drinking community with the associated impact on crime and disorder and have been witnessed selling alcohol to members of the street drinking community.
“Trading standards has no confidence that the management and the premises licence holder are competent to run these premises so as to ensure that the licensing objectives are met.”
She asked councillors to revoke the convenience store’s licence because of concerns about crime and disorder.
During one visit Sussex Police officers stepped in to stop Mrs Kara from selling alcohol to a street drinker who was drunk.
Inspector Gareth Davies said that street drinkers had caused problems in the area near the shop, including urinating, swearing, begging, fighting and intimidating passers by.
He said that the store had contributed to the time-consuming issues caused by street-drinkers, not least because it was selling them cheap super-strength lager.
The licensing panel of councillors suspended the store’s licence for three months.
Councillor Ben Duncan, chairman of the council’s Licensing Committee, said: “A lot of illicit alcohol is sold to retailers by unauthorised traders in unmarked vans who turn up at the retail outlet offering alcohol for cheap prices.
“Retailers need to understand that this alcohol is potentially dangerous and that they risk prosecution, fines, loss of personal licences and criminal records if they sell illicit alcohol.
“Everyone’s got to earn a living, of course, but alcohol is major killer and a significant cause of violent crime and nuisance in this city.
“We won’t tolerate any retailer flouting the rules designed to protect our communities from alcohol-related harm in the hunt for a quick profit.”
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