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Residents rally to help shop survive booze licence review

PUBLISHED: 16:21 23 April 2008 | UPDATED: 14:42 25 August 2010

A SHOPKEEPER has survived a licence review thanks to unprecedented support from dozens of residents.

A SHOPKEEPER has survived a licence review thanks to unprecedented support from dozens of residents.

Vettivelu Sugernan, owner of HEB Food and Wine, in Crayford High Street, was reviewed by Bexley council on April 15 for selling alcohol to children.

However, councillors suspended his license for just six weeks after receiving 38 letters from Crayford residents slamming the council's hard line on the store.

Claire Grimmer, 25, of Crayford High Street, was surprised by the review and asked Bexley council to reconsider.

She wrote: "Me and some older friends have been asked on numerous occasions by both gentlemen that work there for ID.

"I was personally asked three times even though I thought they would have remembered me the first time."

Trading standards said Mr Sugernan paid little regard to his obligations as a licence holder and criticised the store for having two assistants who only speak broken English.

The store was then targeted by police after an underage sale was seen by police last December, and failed one of two test purchases.

Mr Sugernan, who is expected to provide better training for his staff during the six-week ban, has 21 days to appeal against the decision.

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