Off-licence can still sell booze

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AN off-licence at the centre of police claims it supplied alcohol to underage drinkers has escaped a booze ban.

Businessman Harminder Singh, who runs the convenience store, in Gleneagles Road, Grindon, agreed to a series of measures to tackle the apparent problem when he appeared at a council hearing, which could have seen his licence suspended or revoked.

Police raised concerns about the outlet after three 16-year-old boys were said to have been spotted leaving it with “bags full” of drink.

Officers reported seeing the youths after being alerted to antisocial behaviour in the neighbourhood.

They were caught during a joint operation involving Northumbria Police and housing company Gentoo to counter alcohol-related crime last summer.

However, Mr Singh, who was given the go-ahead to continue selling alcohol by members of Sunderland City Council’s licensing sub-committee this week, gave reassurances he would “do everything he was asked to do” by the authorities.

Conditions included the installation of a fully-operational CCTV system, requests for valid ID from customers thought to be under 25 years old buying alcohol, and improved staff training.

Speaking after the meeting, Mr Singh said: “I’m more than happy to comply with all of the conditions the council has put forward. They will be put in place long before the 28-day deadline.”

Councillors had expressed concern that shop bosses did not act earlier to address the issue.

In a report to members describing the incident last year, police stated that three youths were seen entering the store.

Officers saw a youth carrying blue carrier bags, believed to contain alcohol.

Although the alleged purchaser of the booze was said to be wearing a distinctive “onesie” – an all-in-one romper suit-type outfit – staff said CCTV cameras were not working in the outlet at the time.

It was claimed that when questioned about the sale, the member of staff said she had not asked the customer for ID as she had sold him alcohol in the past.

After police pointed out that he was 16, she said that the shop had been “very busy”.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho