September 17 2014 Latest news:
Anna Silverman, Reporter
Monday, August 18, 2014
Nearly 20 Newham off-licences have had their alcohol licences called in for review after they were caught selling booze outside of permitted hours or to underage children.
Councillors are deciding whether licences should be revoked in 18 stores to control the behaviour of the storekeepers and stop them flouting the law.
Test purchasers were sent into 151 businesses in Stratford, West Ham, Upton Park and Plaistow at least four times during Operation Missouri.
Officers were checking on whether the shops were complying with their licensing conditions, ensuring the sale of alcohol was only taking place within permitted hours, testing whether stores sold alcohol to those under the age-limit and also searched for cigarettes and booze that may not have paid excise duty.
Of the 151 businesses tested ten failed by selling booze to children, including Sri Supermarket on Romford Road in Manor Park.
Councillor Ian Corbett, mayoral advisor for environment and leisure, said: “Six irresponsible licensees have already had their licences revoked and several more are currently under review.
“We will be looking to hear how they intend to mend their ways at the upcoming hearings or we will take stringent action.”
Operation Missouri, which has been operating since April, has resulted in inspections being carried out by Newham’s licensing, trading standards and law enforcement teams as well as the police and HM Revenue and Customs.
So far, six off-licences had their licences revoked or ceased trading in alcohol, two of which are under appeal and two others have had their licences suspended and additional conditions imposed.
A further ten businesses licences are currently under review and a number of sales assistants and business owners have been interviewed under caution for the offences.