Media release - issued 01 Dec 2017

Farnborough store has premises licence revoked

A Farnborough convenience store which was caught three times selling alcohol to minors in just over six months has had its licence to sell alcohol revoked.

The decision to revoke the premises licence for the Everest Cash and Carry in Cove Road, Farnborough, held by Oasis Trading Impex Ltd, was taken by Rushmoor Borough Council's Licensing Sub-Committee after a hearing at the council offices on Thursday 23 November.

The sub-committee was convened after Hampshire County Council's Trading Standards service requested a review of the store's premises licence in October, following the failed test purchases.

The sub-committee heard that on two visits organised by Hampshire Constabulary in February and April this year and one by Trading Standards in August, alcohol was sold to minors. In June, during a visit from a trading standards officer, training records could not be produced and it was discovered that the refusals book was not being checked. No entries had been made in the book almost two months later, when the store failed the third test purchase.

A report from Trading Standards said it was "totally unacceptable" that the store had failed three test purchases and criticised the "total ineptitude" of the premise licence holders.

The report continued: "Despite visits from Rushmoor Borough Council licensing officers, the police licensing officer and Trading Standards, staff selling alcohol have not received any training and have failed to enter refusals in the refusals book for large periods of time."

Similar representations were made at the hearing by both Rushmoor Borough Council and Hampshire Constabulary.

Rushmoor Borough Council licensing officer Aimee Vosser said that the designated premises supervisor, Rabindra Shrestha, had not been present at the store during the visits and there had been a different member of staff each time. The training records produced showed that no one at the store had undertaken any training since 2016, apart from the staff member who failed the original police test purchase The store had also failed to display its premises licence.

Her report concluded: "The lack of continuity of staff members, along with the repeated offences and failure to rectify the breaches of licence, indicate that the premises licence holder has little regard for the law, advice given by the responsible authorities and leaves me with no confidence in the management of the premises, or their ability to promote the licensing objectives."

A representative of Oasis Trading told the sub-committee that he had provided instruction to staff members, but accepted that this had not always been implemented and that the refusals log had not been completed correctly. He asked for another chance to implement formal training at the store.

After the hearing, Councillor Ken Muschamp, Rushmoor Borough Council's Cabinet member for Business, Safety and Regulation, said: "On each occasion the store was caught selling alcohol to minors, the licence holder was offered lots of help and encouraged to send all his staff for training, but each time he failed to do so.

"The third failure really was the final straw and as licensing authority, the sub-committee was happy to support Trading Standards with their application to revoke the premises licence. It needed to take this step to protect young people in the area."

Hampshire County Council Leader, Councillor Roy Perry, said: "Preventing the sale of alcohol to children helps to reduce anti-social behaviour in our communities and the health risks associated with underage drinking. Consequently, Hampshire County Council Trading Standards takes a strong stance against the sale of alcohol to children, seen with our officers carrying out regular, proactive monitoring of licensed premises.

"We are pleased the work of our officers, can for those premises who fall foul of the law, result in alcohol licenses being revoked. This sends a clear message that illegally selling alcohol to children will not be tolerated."

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