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Harold Hill store's licence under review for repeatedly selling alcohol to children

PUBLISHED: 07:00 02 November 2017

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

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

Archant

Havering Council officers have called for a Harold Hill convenience store's licence to be reviewed after the owners repeatedly sold alcohol to children.

The Grange Express store in Grange Road will go before the borough’s licensing sub-committee on Monday after underage volunteers working with Havering’s Trading Standards Services team were able to purchase alcohol on two separate occasions in April and August.

Police officers had previously expressed concerns about the management of the premises when an alleged £30,000 robbery there in May last year revealed serious issues with the premises’ CCTV.

The owners, the Potiwal family, claimed £28,000 of cigarettes and £2,700 in cash had been stolen from the shuttered and locked store overnight, but could not provide CCTV as they had allowed an 11-year-old child to examine the CCTV system and all footage had been deleted.

The police report on the incident reads: “The owners were questioned as to why they would allow an 11-year-old child to use their CCTV system to examine and view vital CCTV evidence of a potential £30,000 burglary within their premises and they could not provide an explanation.”

Further concerns have been raised by police that the shop is not currently carrying out its duties to protect children from harm, as it has not been abiding by the Challenge 25 rule.

These issues have seen Havering Police urge the licensing sub-committee to “give serious consideration” to revoking the premises’ alcohol licence altogether.

The report from Havering’s licensing team also concludes that such drastic action might be necessary.

It reads: “The Trading Standards Service is concerned that there has been alcohol sold to two children on two occasions within only a few months.

“This is despite the attempt to engage with the trader during the meeting on May 19 and the visit on June 26. The designated premises supervisor (DPS) does not seem to have day to day control of running the business and is often away from the premises in other employment.

“The failings at the venue give the Trading Standards Service significant concerns as to their commitment to preventing underage sales and responsible alcohol retailing.”

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