A shop’s booze licence has been called in for review for selling to teenagers with the backing of health chiefs and a mum whose daughter was left sick through drink.
Westlea Foodstore in West Grove, Seaham, will go before officials tomorrow after Durham County Council’s local weights and measures authority asked for it to be reconsidered.
None of the kids looked old enough to be 18. I was so angry that I rang police.Concerned mum
The effort has been backed by health experts concerned about the level of underage sales and drinking in the town and management of the shop.
It had been due to be put before members of its statutory sub-licensing sub-committee in April, but the discussions were deferred after a change of premises licence holder and designated premises supervisor (DPS).
Premises licence holder Kuldeep Singh has proposed Gursahab Singh becomes the DPS, with Durham Constabulary objecting because he is not a “fit and proper” person for the role.
Police say Gursahab Singh holds the same position at another unnamed business, with a check highlighting concerns in its management, including the employment of a man arrested for immigration offences.
Council and police officers have also carried out a number of test purchasing operations which found the Westlea shop was selling white wine and Guinness to children.
In one instance, the staff member serving had been drinking himself, with the store’s CCTV system was unable to record footage.
A housewife whose 14-year-old daughter became “so drunk she couldn’t stand” after buying cider at the shop has backed the efforts.
Her girl was sick several times and had to be watched all night because she has epilepsy.
The mum went on to confront a shop worker, who said he could not remember who had been working the night before and called police when she spotted more youngsters with drink she believes was bought from the business.
Her statement says: “I was driving down Stockton Road when I stopped at a pedestrian crossing so a group of kids could cross, all of them came from the direction of Westlea Stores and were carrying light blue carrier bags like those used at Westlea Stores.
“I could see at least one had a bottle of vodka in.
“None of the kids looked old enough to be 18. I was so angry that I rang police.”
Anna Lynch, director of public health in County Durham said: “The sale of single cans and bottle makes alcohol much more accessible and affordable for people under the age of 18.
“There was also a considerable amount of shelf-space given over within the store to alcohol, as well as large packets of sweets being dispersed in amongst shelves of alcohol.”
The business could not be reached for comment.
The review and application will be discussed at a meeting at County Hall in Durham at 2pm tomorrow.