Sunderland shop faces booze ban over underage sales

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A SHOP could be banned from selling alcohol after police claimed it supplied booze to underage drinkers.

Three 16-year-old boys are understood to have been spotted leaving Bargain Booze, in Gleneagles Road, Grindon, with “bags full” of drink.

Officers from Northumbria Police reported seeing the youths after being alerted to anti-social behaviour in the neighbourhood.

The three were caught during a joint operation involving the force and housing company Gentoo to counter alcohol-related crime last summer.

The licence holder is now set go before Sunderland Council’s licensing sub-committee, which could ban the business from selling alcohol.

In a report to members, police stated: “A number of youths were seen to congregate outside the store and three youths entered.

“Police in marked vehicles attended the area and waited for the youths to come out of the premises by the Gentoo staff.

“One youth in particular was carrying a number of blue carrier bags that were 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.

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, it is claimed.

After police pointed out that he was 16, she said that the shop had been “very busy” and could “not remember the incident”.

It is alleged she became “very argumentative, angry and obstructive” when she was told she faced an £80 penalty notice.

“Both persons stated the CCTV always worked and this was a one-off incident,” stated the report.

“However, on the several occasions that police had been to the premises to view CCTV, it had never been working.”

The report also revealed that in 2010 the premises had been targeted in a test purchase by police and trading standards.

Officers said bottles of cider, highlighted with a special marker pen, were subsequently found in the possession of underage drinkers.

The licence holder, Harminder Singh, was prosecuted for the offence by trading standards.

Mr Singh is set to appear at the licensing sub-committee hearing at the Civic Centre, in Burdon Road, Sunderland, on Monday.

The Echo was unable to contact him for a comment.

Twitter: @SunderlandEcho