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Councillors revoke shop's licence after under-age sales

Posted on Monday 22 January 2018

A convenience store which was closed by Northumbria Police has now lost its licence to sell alcohol.

Councillors in Gateshead reviewed the alcohol licence held by Wellfield Stores in Windy Nook and after hearing evidence from the owner, Northumbria Police and the council’s Enforcement Team agreed to revoke the shop’s licence. Northumbria Police has already issued a temporary Closure Notice on Wellfield Stores under the Anti-Social Behaviour Act due to the anti-social behaviour associated with its operation.

Members of Gateshead’s Licencing Sub-Committee took their decision to strip the shop of its licence after staff were caught on two different occasions selling alcohol to children.

The shop had originally been brought to the attention of Gateshead Council after a member of the public reported that they had sold alcohol to a 12 year old child. The council then carried out a test purchase operation in which a 15 year old volunteer was able to buy four cans of lager without being challenged, despite being obviously underage.

The shop’s licence to sell alcohol was to be reviewed on December 19, but the hearing was adjourned for a month at the owner’s request.

In the meantime, the council carried out a second test purchase operation against the shop – and another 15 year old volunteer was again able to buy alcohol.

Enforcement officers visited the shop a few days later to view their CCTV to establish the level of offending but were obstructed from doing so. They then seized the CCTV equipment but when they examined it they discovered that its recordings had been erased.

Members of the Council’s Licencing Sub-Committee met on Wednesday 17 January and after listening to representations from Trading Standards, Gateshead’s Local Safeguarding Children Board (LSCB), Public Health the Licencing Authority and Northumbria Police, agreed to revoke the premises licence to ensure that the present owner is no longer allowed to sell alcohol.

Councillor Kevin Dodds, chairman of the Licencing Sub-Committee, said:

“There has been a considerable amount of anti-social behaviour associated with this shop, largely because of their apparent willingness to break the law and sell alcohol to children.

“What is particularly shocking is that despite being under investigation and review after being caught selling beer to a child, they appeared to carry on selling alcohol to children.

“Local residents who have been pestered by drunken and anti-social behaviour will no doubt be happy that this store, if and when it eventually re-opens, will no longer be putting local children at severe risk of harm. “

The Closure Notice on Wellfield Stores will mean it will remain closed until the 25th January when an application to extend the closure will be heard in court.