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Newsagents shop stripped of licence after selling alcohol to girl, 15

By Mark Cardwell | Great Barr | News | Published:

A newsagents shop’s licence has been revoked after the owner was caught selling alcohol to a 15-year-old girl.

Brooklyn News in Birdbrook Road, Great Barr. Photo: Google.

A Birmingham City Council licensing sub-committee cited “poor management and lack of responsibility” in its decision to remove the licence of Brooklyn News, in Birdbrook Road, Great Barr.

Trading Standards officers carried out an undercover sting in February, where two volunteers aged 14 and 15 went into the shop, which is run by Paramjit Singh.

Mr Singh was seen by officers serving the 15-year-old two bottles of WKD Blue alcopops without asking for ID to prove she was over 18.

A licensing review hearing was held on May 18, during which the sub-committee heard from West Midlands Police as well as Rob Edge, representing the shop.

Mr Edge had proposed conditions be added to the licence, such as staff training, a “Challenge 25” policy and CCTV, but PC Abdool Rohomon said these measures wouldn’t go far enough.

The sub-committee heard Mr Singh had previously been advised about the law relating to sale of alcohol and tobacco to under-18s.

In its decision, the sub-committee states: "Despite having operated for some 15 years, and having received two advisory visits in the past, he had permitted an under age sale without asking for some form of ID, or even asking the youngster’s age.

"This duty was an elementary part of responsible trading in any off-licence premises.

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Permitted

"Staff training was proposed – but the person who had permitted the sale was Mr Singh himself, who was the licence holder.

"The adoption of a formal Challenge 25 condition was proposed, but his previous actions did not reassure the sub-committee that Mr Singh would necessarily follow it.

"In any event, as the police observed, the conditions were a secondary issue. Correct promotion of the licensing objectives would have been sufficient to ensure proper operation.

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"Instead, Mr Singh’s poor management and lack of responsibility were undermining the licensing objectives.

"This was particularly worrying given that he had some 15 years’ experience of trading.

"The sub-committee was therefore doubtful that improving the conditions was a reliable way forward.

"It was difficult to have confidence that Mr Singh would properly follow any such revamped conditions; moreover, as the police pointed out, some aspects (such as the new conditions for CCTV) would do nothing to deal with the problem of underage sales.

"The sub-committee was of the view that it was impossible to have any confidence in the premises, given the management style of Mr Singh which had been described by the responsible authorities.

"Accordingly the only course was to revoke the premises licence."

The decision will not come into action until the end of a 21-day period for appealing the decision, or until after any appeal is heard.

The sub-committee was chaired by Councillor Philip Davis and also included Councillor Mary Locke and Councillor Bob Beauchamp.

Mark Cardwell

By Mark Cardwell
Reporter - @mlrcardwell

Local Democracy Reporter covering Birmingham.

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