An off-licence in South Tyneside has had its licence suspended after being caught selling alcohol to children.
South Tyneside Council’s licensing sub committee met today to review a premises licence for the The Dairy, in Horsley Hill Square, South Shields.
A sting by Northumbria Police and council’s trading standards team discovered the breach in 2017 – the second failed test purchase in the past three years.
After several delays to the hearing, councillors agreed to suspend the premises licence for up to three months which will trigger after a 21-day appeal period.
A report presented to the committee gave the premises licence holder as Julie Marie Lanney and the ‘designated premises supervisor’ as Ellis James Linney.
Both individuals failed to turn up to the meeting, with the committee making a decision in their absence due to legal deadlines.
Coun Wilf Flynn said the repeat test purchase fails showed a “total disregard” for licensing conditions and called for a suspension of the licence.
Gillian Perry, from the council’s Trading Standards team, added that access to alcohol is a “significant community problem” likely to cause anti-social behaviour issues if consumed by children.
She explained that the suspension would allow the council to monitor the off-licence alongside “helping them and advising them on what to do to make it right”.
If council officers were satisfied the shop was meeting licensing conditions during the appeal period, the suspension could also be lifted before it comes into force, the meeting heard.
The final ruling requires the shop to prove it’s fulfilling licensing conditions including the prevention of crime and disorder and protecting children from harm.
It added there were “blatant breaches of conditions in the past” and “if the breaches continue, the licensing objectives would be undermined.”
Mr Linney was the staff member who failed the most recent test purchase in October 2017 which included a bottle of cider being sold to two 15-year-olds.
Ms Linney wished to make no comment on the issue when contacted after the licensing meeting.
Chris Binding , Local Democracy Reporting Service