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Harold Hill off licence which sold alcohol to children has licence revoked

PUBLISHED: 07:00 07 November 2017 | UPDATED: 09:17 07 November 2017

Grange Express in Grange Road, Harold Hill. Photo: Google Maps

Grange Express in Grange Road, Harold Hill. Photo: Google Maps

Archant

The owner of a store which repeatedly sold alcohol to children, says she is "young and still learning" after its licence was revoked.

The Grange Express store in Grange Road, Harold Hill, went before the borough’s licensing sub-committee yesterday, following alcohol being sold to underage volunteers working with Havering’s Trading Standards services team in April and August.

Trading Standards put forward the application for its licence to be reviewed, due to the premises failing in its duty to protect children from harm and the failure of the prevention of crime and disorder.

Owner Neelam Potiwal, 30, works part time at Tesco as part of a graduate scheme after completing her business management degree.

While she works at the supermarket, her parents look after the shop and that is when alcohol was sold to the underage volunteers.

During the meeting, Neelam said her mum gets “confused” with people’s ages and uses the idea of a “Challenge 50” rather than a Challenge 25 as the off licence was instructed to implement.

After police visited the shop when her mum sold cider to a 16-year-old in August, her dad became aggressive and was threatened with arrest.

Officers also found a machete in the back room but Neelam, the designated premises supervisor (DPS), stated that it was a religious Sikh symbol as part of the prayer area.

Licensing officer Paul Jones said: “I found Mr Potiwal very hostile and foul mouthed which is very unusual because licensee holders are normally very co-operative.

“Even though it is a religious symbol, the presence of a machete is still a cause for concern.”

Ms Potiwal said: “I know I have made mistakes but I’m young and still learning.

“My parents have as well and it has had an impact on our family.

“My mum has said she will stop selling alcohol voluntarily if we are to still have our licence and I have spoken to my dad about his attitude.

“While I keep my feelings to myself, he shows it through anger.

“I will respect whatever decision the committee makes.”

However, at the end of the meeting, chairwoman Councillor Linda Trew said: “The conclusion is, that given the findings identified, it would be inappropriate to do nothing.

“Therefore, we have no other option than to revoke the licence, as it is the only way to reach the local authority’s licensing objectives.”

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