South Shields petrol station gets 24-hour drink licence despite crime concerns

Town Hall Esso garage
Town Hall Esso garage

A petrol station at the heart of South Shields has been given the go-ahead to sell alcohol 24 hours a day – despite police concerns it could lead to a rise in assaults and disorder.

The council’s Licensing Sub-Committee approved the application from the Esso Town Hall Service Station at Crossgate on a trial basis until the end of May next year.

Variation of the premises licence will increase disorder

Ian Johnson

The applicant, Rontec Watford Limited, will then have to reapply for the 
same licensing hours to continue.

The company would have demonstrate that the impact of extended hours has not had a detrimental impact on the local community. The premises is currently open 24 hours a day, but stops selling alcohol at 2am.

In a report to the committee, Ian Johnson, licence co-ordinator with Northumbria Police Southern Area Command, said: “Northumbria Police believes that this variation to the premises licence will lead to increased damage, assaults, litter, noise and disorder or the potential of such issues, in the town centre and local streets where there are already issues with crime and disorder.

“It will also encourage people who have left licensed premises that close in the early hours of the morning to migrate to the premises to continue their consumption of alcohol and remain in the streets in the area.”

Robert Botkai, of Winckworth Sherwood solicitors, who represented Rontec Watford Ltd, said: “The police made representations that if the licence was granted there was a potential for disorder but there was no evidence to support that and the committee supported the compromise.”

A spokesman for Northumbria Police pledged to work with partner agencies to keep the town safe for the public. He said: “We objected to the application due to concerns we had around an increase in crime, disorder and anti-social behaviour in the area.

“However, we note the decision of the committee and will continue to work with our partner agencies to make sure the town centre remains a safe place.”