Sunderland store’s licence in doubt over claims it sold alcohol to children

A1 Convenience Store, High Street East, East End
A1 Convenience Store, High Street East, East End
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A TROUBLED corner shop’s bid to sell alcohol legitimately is under threat after claims that it has already been selling booze to children – with police finding drink hidden beneath the counter.

An application by Zahir Khan for a premises licence for the A1 Convenience Store was due to be heard by Sunderland City Council’s licensing sub-committee yesterday, but it was adjourned due to a family member being taken ill.

Eight representations have been received from members of the public who are against the High Street East premises serving booze, as has an objection from Hendon ward Coun Barbara McClennan.

Sunderland Chief Inspector Sean McKenna has objected on behalf of Northumbria Police.

In his letter to the licensing committee, he said that, between March and August this year, 643 crimes have been reported within close proximity of the store.

“The police have recently been dealing with issues at the premises and persons working at the premises and believe that it contributes to the high levels of anti-social behaviour in the area,” it read.

“Information passed to police suggests that the staff have been selling cigarettes and alcohol to persons under the age of 18. When police officers have attended the premises, alcohol was found hidden beneath the counter.”

On the application form, Mr Khan describes the store as a general dealer, supplying basic necessities, which is looking to add the sale of alcohol to its range.

Mr Khan also said there will be a Challenge 21 policy and that the premises will be monitored by CCTV.

Committee chairman, Coun Peter Gibson, said he had been handed two lease documents by the landlord of the property.

“There is an issue as to when Mr Kahn was in charge as there have been allegations as to the sale of alcohol and sales to children,” Coun Gibson said. “It’s an important issue, that we resolve who was in charge and when.”

The licence application will now be heard on November 19.