Two-week alcohol ban for off-licence
A NEWSAGENT'S shop has been banned from selling alcohol for two weeks – after under-18s bought booze from the business three times.
Staffordshire Trading Standards ordered a review of the premises licence at Rizwan News after the shop failed three test purchases.
Now the Knutton shop has been hit with the two-week ban to allow for extra staff training on licensing laws to be carried out.
Members of Newcastle Borough Council's licensing sub-committee had already warned licence holder Musadiq Ali about bad management practices and a lack of training for his staff.
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After yesterday's hearing, Mr Ali, who took over running the store from his uncle, said: "Trading standards has made many visits to our shop since the first time we served someone underage.
"They have asked for training manuals to be put in place."
The Knutton Lane store has been within the Ali family for 26 years.
Musadiq Ali has twice been caught selling alcohol to under-18s after falling victim to trading standards stings.
Mr Ali added: "It was just a mistake when I served the alcohol.
"People look much older than they are and it can happen quite easily."
Staff have now been told they must carry out more checks when serving alcohol, including using the challenge 25 scheme and keeping a log of customers who have been refused booze.
In the latest case, an under-18 bought alcohol at the shop on August 25 last year.
But Mr Ali said it was his father who failed that test purchase which was blamed on an 'off-day'.
He said: "It was a mistake and it was my father who made the sale.
"It was very unfortunate and I have put a lot of further checks in place to make sure it doesn't happen again.
"I had thought that the licensing meeting had been called to agree to extra conditions on the licence but now it has been suspended.
"It was wholly disproportionate to try to take the licence away.
"The ruling is inconvenient but we have done wrong and we will do what we have to, to put it right.
"They don't realise what hard graft is involved in working seven days a week trying to keep a shop open."
Part of yesterday's meeting was held in private after the council claimed 'exempt' information was being discussed.
Following the meeting, a council spokesman said: "There was evidence of poor practices at the business.
"But the licensing committee has decided to give the licence holder another chance.
"However should there be a repetition of the offences then they will take another view.
"We have decided to suspend the premises license for two weeks in order to allow time to put the conditions into practice."