April 23, 2023
By Joe Sweeney, Local Democracy Reporter
A shop in Wolverhampton is to have its licence reviewed after reports of alcohol and vapes being sold to schoolchildren and underage people.
Lloyd Hill Convenience Store in Penn will undergo a review by licensing bosses this week, following a complaint about underage alcohol sales and intelligence information received from West Midlands Police.
In a report to the council, senior Trading Standards officer Stefan Polatajko said that on March 31, 2022, an elected member had made a complaint on behalf of a resident that alcohol had been sold to their 13-year-old daughter by the shop.
“On December 8, 2022, information was received from the police alleging that vapes were being sold by Lloyds Convenience Store to children in school uniform duing school hours,” he added.
“Then, on January 30, 2023, further information was received from the police again alleging that vapes were being sold by the shop to schoolchildren in uniform during school hours.
“On February 23 this year a volunteer for the City of Wolverhampton Council, who is under the age of 18, purchased two 250ml 5% ABV cans of Gordon’s Gin and Tonic from the store. The sale was witnessed by a Trading Standards officer. No attempt was made to ask the young person their age or ask for identification.
“The 16-year-old volunteer had been asked for and refused age-restricted products at another shop that day,” he said.
“Lloyds Convenience Store, also known as Spar, has engaged in activities which have breached the licensing objectives namely the prevention of crime and disorder and the protection of children from harm.”
In a further report, the council’s section leader for licensing, Amitabh Singh, said: “On March 6, 2023, Trading Standards submitted an application to review the premises licence. The issues raised relate to underage alcohol sales.
“The licensing authority has concerns over the premises licence holder CMK Superstores and designated premises supervisor Bhupinder Singh, as the evidence provided by Trading Standards indicates that they are not upholding the licensing objectives of Prevention of Crime and Disorder and Protection of Children from Harm – and therefore putting the public at risk.
“Councillors may conclude from the evidence given within the review application, and at the hearing, that modification of the premises licence is not a suitable option and that there is no alternative but to revoke the licence.”
Senior Public Health specialist Nilusha Sahni added: “Public Health have very serious concerns regarding the sale of alcohol to underage persons. As a responsible authority, we would expect any business licensed to sell alcohol to act responsibly at all times and promote the key objectives of the Licensing Act 2003.”
The licence review hearing will take place next Friday (April 28).