Early closure for Forest Gate store after licence breached

A Forest Gate convenience store has been ordered to close earlier after it was twice caught selling booze after hours.

Undercover police officers purchased beer and lager from the Star Supermarket in Upton Lane in October and December last year, almost one hour after it was allowed to do so under the terms of its licence.

The repeated offences prompted the police to call for a review of the store’s licence.

At a Newham Council licensing sub-committee hearing held earlier this month, owner Surediran Vaithilingham was ordered to abide by fresh conditions.

He will have to shut the store by 11pm, after which all cabinets should be locked, and all alcohol displayed behind the counter screened from view.

All drink sold at the premises should not exceed six per cent strength, and CCTV will have to be maintained in good working order 24 hours a day.

Alcohol buyers who appear to be under the age of 25 will have to be asked for proof of identity.

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The hearing was called after on October 8 last year, a plain clothed police officer bought alcohol just before midnight. Mr Vaithilingham and a sales assistant received a warning letter and caution.

But on December 10, an undercover Newham Council officer bought two cans of lager and bottles of beer and whisky at 11.50pm from Mr Vaithilingham himself.

When questioned about the incident by officers shortly afterwards, the owner claimed his last sale was at 11pm.

Speaking at the hearing, John Iannou, defending the store, did not argue with the evidence given by the police and said his client had apologised unreservedly for his actions.

But he disputed police claims that Upton Lane was an area affected by crime and disorder and pointed out that the incidents did not result in a criminal offence.

The store will also have to train its staff in the sale of alcohol twice a year.