A READING shop has lost its premises licence following a string of serious licensing breaches, including the sale of fake alcohol unfit for human consumption.
The Council’s Licensing Committee took the decision to revoke the premises licence for Kush News, 59 Southampton Street, Reading, on 29th April 2016.
This decision was upheld at Reading Magistrates’ Court on Monday 13th February 2017.
The judge ordered the now former licence holder, Mr Paulam Patel, age 49, of Southampton Street, Reading, to pay the Council’s costs of £3,674.
The Council’s licensing team, working collaboratively with the trading standards team, found numerous serious breaches of the Licensing Act at Kush News, over a period of 18 months from October 2014 to January 2016. This included:
- The discovery of 12 bottles of illegal vodka, later found to contain chemicals harmful to human health;
- The seizure by HMRC of 285 bottles of smuggled wine that had dodged legal tax duty;
- The seizure of counterfeit bottles of whisky;
- Selling alcohol without a licence in place;
- Failing to carry out age checks during a test purchase of alcohol;
- Failing to maintain adequate training records or a refusal register.
This was the second time Mr Patel has had a licence revoked, following the removal of his licence in February 2015 at C & K Food & Wine, 467 Northumberland Avenue, Reading, after a similar litany of alcohol related offences and a history of non-compliance.
Paul Gittings, Lead Councillor for Consumer Services, said:
“I’m pleased the court has confirmed the Council’s decision to revoke this premises licence and sent out the clear message licensing breaches like these will not be tolerated.
“By removing the illegal alcohol, the Council has prevented a potentially serious health risk to unwitting consumers. Hopefully, the action that has been taken will also make traders think twice about stocking these products.
“Revoking the shop’s licence will also act as a further reminder that the illegal selling of age restricted products is unacceptable. Consumer safety is a major priority and we will continue to carry out our underage sales test exercises on a regular basis.”
Alcohol fraud costs the UK around £1 billion a year in lost revenue. By dodging legal tax duty, fraudsters undercut sales prices of the legitimate trade. However, not only does illegal alcohol undermine all honest alcohol traders, these false bargains can often be unfit for human consumption. Drinking fake alcohol can be extremely dangerous. It may have been made in unhygienic conditions and there is often no way of knowing what it has been made with.