Smuggled alcohol is a growing problem in Brighton and Hove and a sign of criminal activity, according to a councillor.
Labour councillor Jackie O’Quinn raised the issue as members of Brighton and Hove City Council’s Licensing Committee discussed drinks licence reviews and appeals.
At a “virtual” meeting on Thursday (26 November), Councillor O’Quinn, who previously chaired the Licensing Committee, said that there were several licensing reviews coming up, some related to illicit alcohol.
She said: “I am concerned that it seems to be a growing problem in the city.
“I know trading standards work very hard to deal with this.
“There are quite high-level criminals involved – and it’s large amounts, not small amounts.”
Councillor O’Quinn recently chaired a licensing panel that revoked Tivoli Food and Wine’s alcohol licence after trading standards officers found 90 bottles of fake prosecco on sale.
The shop owner has said that he would appeal against the revocation of his licence.
Councillor O’Quinn said that said she was worried about the amount of illegal alcohol coming into the city and wanted to raise awareness.
Green councillor Lizzie Deane who chairs the Licensing Committee, praised trading standards and licensing officers for monitoring the 1,400 licensed businesses across Brighton and Hove.
She said: “They do work incredibly hard and it is their vigilance and perseverance that brings some of these reviews to our attention.
“They bring to our attention sometimes some quite serious criminal activity that cannot continue to go unchecked.”
Conservative councillor Dee Simson urged more councillors to get involved with licensing applications and reviews in their wards.
She said: “I think more councillors should be active in that. We don’t see as many councillors get involved as should do.”
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