East Ham supermarket which sold fake alcohol and allowed a child to buy booze loses its licence
- Credit: Kat Hopps
A supermarket which sold huge quantities of illegal, counterfeit and high-strength alcohol – plus booze to a minor – has had its licence withdrawn by Newham Council.
The local authority’s licensing sub-committee ruled Ali Khademi should lose his premise licence for Costsaver - formerly Costcutter - at 2-4 High Street North, East Ham, in order to prevent crime and disorder in the area and keep children safe from harm.
East Ham Central councillors Julianne Marriott and Ian Corbett both submitted evidence at the two-hour hearing which lasted an extra hour for deliberations.
Cllr Marriott said: “The licensee has repeatedly breeched his licence conditions with completed disregard for the law and the wellbeing of the residents of East Ham.
“I am pleased that the committee revoked the license and I think it is a good thing for the people of East Ham who suffer from street drinking and anti-social behaviour.”
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Those present at the hearing heard that some of the counterfeit products masquerading as branded wines had had labels put over the bottles to deceive customers.
Illicit alcohol was first sold at the shop as far back as 2011 during a visit by Newham Trading Standards and HMRC.
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Subsequent visits over the next two years also uncovered further sales of illicit alcohol and tobacco products but no action was taken for three years after a trading standards found no wrong-doing during a visit in 2014.
A new licence for alcohol was approved by Newham Council for the business last November after it expanded its operations next door.
However, an undercover operation in February of this year exposed illegal practises on a large scale where according to submitted documents “a large quantity of Romanian beers and wine” were discovered.
After the licensee failed to produce the correct purchase invoices/receipts, HMRC concluded that a large amount of duty had been evaded.
In total, they seized 295 litres of Timisoreana beer, 108 litres of wine, seven litres of African bitters, plus 120 illicit cigarettes and 50g illicit rolling tobacco.
A separate undercover operation on April 5 saw a 15-year-old boy able to purchase a WKD bottle from a member of staff who was not even authorised to sell alcohol.
Following the outcome of yesterday’s hearing, Mr Khademi will have the chance to appeal the decision. He has been contacted for comment.