Troubled Brighton store drops request for drinks licence

The owner of a Brighton shop where smuggled cigarettes were on sale has withdrawn his application for a drinks licence.

The application – from A Nifty Store in Preston Road – was due to have been decided by a Brighton and Hove City Council licensing panel on Monday 23 November.

But Chris Nixon, of Knight Training, the licensing agent for the shop’s owner Kamber Koluman, said yesterday (Thursday 19 November) that the application had been withdrawn.

Sussex Police opposed 53-year-old Mr Koluman’s application to sell beers, wines and spirits.

Inspector Rob Lovell – whose name was redacted in council papers – said: “Sussex Police has serious concerns over the crime and disorder in this area.”

He said that the area suffered largely from theft, violent crime and public order problems.

The business lost its licence in 2017 after failing a test purchase when it was known as International Food and Wine.

Since then, two applications for a new alcohol licence have been made, most recently in February last year when the premises was called Moonlight.

Another test purchase was carried out last month – on Wednesday 21 October – when the shop sold smuggled cigarettes.

The test purchaser bought a packet of 20 Marlboro Gold “under the counter” cigarettes for £7 even though it would usually cost about £11.80.

The packet was branded with Polish health warnings and tax stamps and did not have the required packaging for the British market.

A separate statement was submitted by an anonymous council licensing officer and fair trading officer, with names kept secret by redaction.

The statement said that, on Thursday 13 August this year, a visit was made to the shop to talk about knife sales with Mr Koluman.

Security cameras were found not to cover the part of the shop where knives were on sale – and the shelves were also out of view from the counter.

Mr Koluman was also asked about “drug paraphernalia” on sale behind the counter which he described as something that “customers had asked for”.

Ten anonymous objections were received along with a redacted letter of support.

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