Police 'left with no option' after Sunderland shop sold blue WKD to teenager

A police team has said its officers were “left with no option” but to push for stripping the license from a Sunderland shop after it sold an alcopop to a school pupil.

Thursday, 23rd January 2020, 1:06 pm
Updated Friday, 24th January 2020, 10:41 am

Northumbria Police has praised the public after residents approached officers with concerns booze was being illegally sold in the Silksworth area of Sunderland.

As a result, officers and Sunderland City Council’s Trading Standards launched Operation Pluto and carried out test purchases.

A 15-year-old volunteer was asked to enter each shop and attempt to buy alcohol – and was denied service by four licensed premises.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Pc Dave Brown pictured outside the premises following a decision to revoke its alcohol license.
Pc Dave Brown pictured outside the premises following a decision to revoke its alcohol license.

But the girl was allowed to leave Courtney Drive Newsagents, known locally as Varkey’s, with a bottle of WKD Blue without being asked for identification.

It prompted the shop’s license to be called before the council’s licensing sub-committee for review.

Sergeant Keith Goldsmith said: “We work closely with all of our licensed premises to ensure they offer a safe environment for the public, abide by the law and uphold their licensing conditions.

“However, the license holder at Courtney Drive Newsagents has clearly fallen short of this requirement by selling alcohol to an under-age minor.

“As a result, we were left with no option but to make an application to revoke the license.

“This is an excellent example of how the public can be our eyes and ears – and I would like to thank the two residents who approached us and passed on their concerns about this specific shop.

“While officers carry out regular checks on the city’s premises, it was their initiative and willingness to do the right thing that has led to this successful outcome.

“We will continue to work with our partners and the communities we serve to ensure all premises operate within the law, and I hope this sends out a strong message to others that we will take firm and robust action against any premises that act unlawfully.”

The council licensing’s committee heard the shop should not have been selling alcohol as the designated premises supervisor no longer worked there.

A number of other issues were raised, including lack of records of refused sales for age-restricted items.