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Three-month ban on alcohol sales at Yeovil shop after complaints

By Western Gazette - Yeovil  |  Posted: October 26, 2012

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A Polish shop has been banned from selling alcohol for three months after it was the subject of complaints from local businesses.

Continental Foods, on Bond Street, had its licence to sell alcohol suspended by South Somerset District Council’s licensing sub-committee on Friday following claims the shop is linked to anti-social behaviour in the area.

Clive Guest, managing director of Guest Fire and Security on South Street, asked the committee to review the shop’s alcohol licence which was granted in July 2011.

He said his business overlooks a car-park where groups of people often congregate to drink alcohol during the day. He accused the drinkers of using foul language, urinating on the street and littering.

The committee received representations from seven other parties, including Cook Funeral Directors and Janet Thomas on behalf of her mother, who is a resident of Woburn House.

Jerry Smith, speaking on behalf of the funeral directors, told the committee of an incident on October 5 when a colleague was verbally abused by a man who had just left the shop and appeared drunk.

Concerns about the strength of alcohol sold by the shop and staff illegally selling alcohol to people who are already drunk were also brought to the council’s attention.

Avon and Somerset Police Inspector Mark Cousins said the force had received 37 complaints from residents about people urinating in the street, using foul language and littering between September 2011 and August this year.

But he was unable to prove a direct link to the Polish shop due to some complainants not wanting to act as witnesses for fear of reprisals.

PC Amanda Thomas, beat manager for Yeovil Town Centre, said she had noticed an increase in incidents of anti-social behaviour on South Street and Bond Street since August last year. As a result, more officers were sent to patrol the area.

Adam Buczek, the licence holder, denied responsibility for the behaviour of drunks in the area. He claimed he was also a victim of littering and his staff had experienced verbal abuse.

He said losing his alcohol licence would damage his business and added: “Another Polish shop has opened in Yeovil and, if my licence is revoked, it would have an effect on my turnover because Polish clients are used to getting everything from the one shop so I would lose business.”

Unless Mr Buczek appeals the committee’s decision, the temporary ban on alcohol sales will begin 21 days after he is formally notified.

Other conditions of the order state all staff must be retrained in how to sell alcohol and full records of this training must be kept. When the licence is reinstated, the shop will not be allowed to sell alcohol before midday, nor should it be stronger than 5.6 per cent.

Packaging must show where the alcohol was sold.

A spokesman for South Somerset District Council said: “The district council has a duty under the Licensing Act 2003 to take appropriate steps to promote the licensing objectives. The sub-committee considered there were issues to be addressed with this particular licence to protect the local area from anti-social behaviour and public nuisance.”

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