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Bexley council fined £7,740 for revoking alcohol licence

PUBLISHED: 16:51 13 October 2010

Magistrates have fined a council more than £7,000 after it revoked the alcohol licence of a grocers for selling alcohol to a 16-year-old test purchaser.

Bexley council has been asked to pay £7,740 to the licence holders of Baffny Food and Wine in Bellegrove Road, Welling, after they successfully appealed the council decision to revoke their alcohol licence.

The alcohol licence was revoked in March after a 16-year-old was sold two bottles of WKD Red. She was asked her age and she told the cashier her year of birth was 1990 - but she was not asked for identification.

Bexley Magistrates ruled on September 21 that no sanction was appropriate for the licence holders, and demanded the council repay the money to the shop to compensate for their loss of earnings.

One of the shop’s licence holders, Arun Prasath told the Times this week that the money has still to be paid. He said: “We are happy we won the appeal. In the last two or three months since the licence was taken off us, business went down. The council haven’t paid the costs yet.”

Speaking about the test purchase on December 15, 2009, he said: “It was a horrible mistake and later we stopped using that member of staff. It was unfair to have our licence revoked.”

In March the councillors revoking the licence added that they had “serious reservations regarding the management of the premises”.

They added: “The sub-committee has no option but to revoke the licence to promote the licensing objectives of the prevention of crime and disorder and the protection of children from harm.”

A spokesperson for Bexley council said: “The London Borough of Bexley is both surprised and disappointed that on this occasion Bexley Magistrates decided that no sanction was appropriate in respect of a trader who sold alcohol to children. The council considers this to be a most serious matter, and one worthy of pursuing. Protecting children from harm and the larger community from the anti social behaviour that can occur when children are under the influence of alcohol continues to be a council priority. The council disagrees with the Magistrates decision and considers its initial decision to revoke the licence was both reasonable and proportionate. Consideration is being given to appealing the magistrates decision.”

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