Rushden shop’s alcohol licence suspended

Blackfriars Food & News in Rushden
Blackfriars Food & News in Rushden
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A shop has had its licence suspended for three months after breaching a number of licensing rules, including selling alcohol to an underage person.

Tom Morrisey, licensing enforcement officer at East Northants Council, said the premises licence holder at Blackfriars Food and Wine, Blackfriars, Rushden, has shown a “total disregard” for licensing rules.

The suspension decision was taken by East Northants Council at a licensing panel meeting on Tuesday, who said “tough action was necessary.”

The panel heard that the shop had its premises licence suspended from March 14 to April 10 for non-payment of its licensing fee, but had sold alcohol to an adult while a council representative visited during that time period. As a result the authority had contacted its solicitors for the prosecution of unlawfully selling alcohol.

There was also police representation at the meeting, who said the shop had failed a test purchase in March, having sold alcohol to an underage person.

Upon imposing the suspension, panel chairman Cllr Richard Gell said: “The panel considered that the problems could have been avoided if more effective management had been in place, and found the premises had been trading irresponsibly, and tough action was necessary.

“The panel considered the financial impact on the business of suspending the licence, but decided it would be appropriate and proportionate to suspend the licence for three months as a deterrent.”

At the meeting Mr Morrisey said he had a lack of confidence in management to address the requirements, there were no records of staff training and no refusals register being kept.

However, the panel heard how Vijithan Muthulingham, the premises holder, had started keeping a refusals register and agreed to take more training. The panel said the shop must now use a Challenge 25 policy and ordered staff to do extra training, including an annual refresher course. Mr Muthulingham has 21 days to appeal.