International Food and Wine, in Preston Road, Brighton
A NEWSAGENTS which opens until 3am has been stripped of its licence after being found to be a hotbed of underage drinking and anti-social behaviour.
There is also evidence of “criminal activity” at the store in Preston Road, which authorities said has been used to store and sell illegally-smuggled alcohol and out-of-date food.
The store had its licence revoked at a hearing on December 1 and was described as one of the worst cases ever heard by councillors.
But the licence holder did not attend and several businessmen involved with the business either seem to have fled the country or are refusing to communicate with the authorities.
International Food and Wine, in Preston Road, just south of Preston Park, has received multiple visits and warnings from Sussex Police, trading standards and other agencies since changing hands in September 2015.
In one Sussex Police sting, a 16-year-old was able to purchase a bottle of beer and leave the shop before being challenged over his age.
Another found alcohol more than a year past its sell-by date. In a third, a 17-year-old was able to buy a bottle of beer without being stopped or asked for ID.
On another occasion officers were stunned to find a “vast” quantity of alcohol on the premises, more suitable to a mid-sized supermarket than a small newsagents.
A previous licence holder gave up his responsibilities while in Turkey but the current designated licence holder, Mr Heydar Pashazarade, has repeatedly failed to attend meetings or reply to letters from the police. According to statements to police, he has been in Turkey since mid August.
Councillor Adrian Morris, deputy chairman of licensing, said: “Although we always consider every application on its merits, this was one that breached so many licensing objectives that the only conclusion was to revoke.
“In addition, this is one of the worst examples of panels I’ve chaired. I was shocked, not only by the evidence produced of ‘smuggled’ alcohol and failed test purchases, but in particular the deceitful and criminal activities taking place on the premises.
“It is vital that we send out a clear message that holding an alcohol licence carries with it huge responsibilities under the licensing objectives. But also a licence holder cannot ignore their moral duties and we will always act in the interests of the wider public.”
Source: The Argus