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Shop is at the root of yob booze problem, claim police
12:20pm Tuesday 24th April 2012 in News
A CONVENIENCE store plagued by drunken yobs could lose its alcohol licence after staff were caught selling drink to under-age customers.
Police are calling on licensing chiefs to take action to curb crime and teenage drinking stemming from the Co-operative, in Nursling Street.
More than 40 incidents have been logged in under a year.
Large gangs of youths, in groups as many as 60, are reportedly gathering around the shop, with some of them shoplifting and intimidting staff and customers.
It is also alleged staff sold alcohol to a drunken man, who then drove off.
Penalty notices have been issued after two test purchases in which staff sold alcohol to children posing as customers on behalf of police and trading standards.
A Hampshire police report states: “Nursling Street is a police beat priority due to the amount of calls received and the number of youths that congregate outside the shop in an antisocial manner.
“Police officers and Test Valley Borough Council neighbourhood wardens conduct frequent patrols in the area to reduce the impact on residents and local business.”
But while a large amount of police manpower has been spent dealing with the problem, officers complained that staff had been unco-operative.
Police claim many shoplifting and other incidents go unreported and that they are denied CCTV footage to help them investigate.
Now police want licensing bosses to force the store to mend its ways or lose its licence. They are calling for the store to employ door staff on Friday and Saturday evenings and install better CCTV. The store must also keep an up-to-date log of all incidents.
Staff should also demand to see ID from anyone looking under 25. More staff training is also needed, say police.
TVBC licensing commitee members will decide whether to revoke, suspend or add conditions to the shop’s licence at their meeting on Wednesday, May 2, at the Council Chamber, Duttons Road, Romsey.
Co-operative Food said it was treating the situation “extremely seriously”.
Their spokesman said: “Our instructions to staff clearly state that any potential purchaser of age-restricted products who appears to be under the age of 25 years should be asked to provide proof that they are 18 or over. If none can be provided, then the sale must be refused.
“We work closely with trading standards officers and police throughout the country, to ensure that our systems and procedures reflect the very best industry practices. We regret that during these isolated incidents, the members of staff involved were not as vigilant in implementing our procedures as we would wish.
“Following the incidents, all staff have undertaken additional training, with assistance from the police and local authorities.”