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Shops lose licences after selling alcohol to children

Two businesses in Islington have lost their licences to sell alcohol after hearings at Highbury Magistrates’ Court.

Islington Council had originally revoked the licence for A & B Food and Wine, in Aubert Park, N5,  after a licensing sub-committee heard in July 2014 that the business had sold alcohol to underage volunteers working with Trading Standards in November 2011 and December 2012.

Abdul  Roaf, the owner and licensee of the business, had ignored attempts by Trading Standards to discuss the sales and failed to follow their written advice, the court heard.

On two occasions his staff had sold alcohol to football supporters who drank it outside the shop and caused anti-social behaviour.

Mr Roaf appealed the decision at the magistrates’ court, but District Judge Susan Williams upheld the council’s decision on Friday 10 April. She said that although she was satisfied that the business had taken appropriate action to prevent further problems with football supporters, the precautions to prevent underage sales were still not adequate despite the availability of written advice and offers of help made by Trading Standards. She also said that Mr Roaf was not meeting the requirement to manage licensed premises to a high standard and that she had doubts whether he could reach this standard in future.

The council was awarded costs of £5,475.

In a separate case  on Tuesday 14 April, Sundareswaran Keethananthapillai, the owner and licensee of Maruthy Mini Mart in Holloway Road, N7, lost his appeal against revocation at the same court.

Islington Council’s Trading Standards had applied for a licence review after three sales to underage volunteers out of four attempts in August 2010, December 2011 and November 2013. The business refused to sell on the other occasion in March 2011.

In May 2014, the council revoked Mr Keethananthapillai’s licence because of the underage sales, several breaches of licence conditions and because they had no confidence that lesser action would be sufficient.

Mr Keethananthapillai appealed this decision and, after an adjournment in December 2014, the appeal was heard recently. On both of these occasions, Mr Keethananthapillai had failed to comply with court directions to provide a summary of his grounds for appeal and when the matter was heard he put little evidence in front of the court to show improved management of the business.

The court upheld the council decision and awarded costs of £6,096 to the Council.

Jan Hart, Islington Council’s director of public protection, said: “We expect the highest standards from licensed businesses who sell alcohol in our community.

“These are sorry tales of businessmen who are now likely to lose their livelihoods because they did too little to correct a problem that had been identified.

“It is an important lesson for other licensees: if things go wrong, and you don’t engage with council officers and  help to put things right, you run a risk of losing your licence.”

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