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Former shop owners prosecuted after selling alcohol outside permitted hours

Published April 13, 2021 10.25am

The former owners of a County Durham shop have been fined and lost their personal licences after admitting exposing and selling alcohol to customers outside permitted hours.

Shadab Azam and his wife Anisa Shadab were found to have allowed the purchase of alcohol from their News and Booze store in Catherine Terrace, New Kyo, on three different Sunday mornings in July 2019.

In April 2019, following a review of the premises licence, our Statutory Licensing Committee revoked the shop's premises licence on numerous grounds including underage sales of alcohol and an illegal immigrant living and working at the premises. An appeal against the revocation of the licence was submitted which allowed the shop to continue to operate until the outcome of the appeal was decided.

In July 2019 our licensing services team received information that the shop was selling alcohol before its licensed hours on a Sunday, despite its licence stipulating that sales of alcohol on a Sunday are only permitted from 12pm until 10.30pm.

Sales outside permitted hours 

CCTV footage obtained from the shop revealed several sales on the previous four Sundays. Anisa Shadab was seen to sell alcohol on 7 July 2019 before noon, outside of the permitted hours. Shadab Azam exposed the alcohol for sale outside of the authorised licensed hours on this date. Then, on 21 July, Shadab Azam made six sales before noon and on 28 July, he made five sales before midday.

During interview, Shadab Azam said he thought the council had made a mistake when they sent him a copy of his licence as he was sure that the licence allowed him to serve alcohol from 10am. The original licence application was checked and it showed that the time requested on the application was noon.

In a hearing at Peterlee Magistrates' Court, Shadab Azam, 41, of South View, Annfield Plain, admitted a charge of exposing alcohol for sale and two charges of allowing the sale of alcohol outside of licensable hours.

At the same court, Anisa Shadab, 35, also of South View, Annfield Plain, admitted one charge of allowing the sale of alcohol outside of licensable hours.

Fines imposed 

In mitigation, Anisa Shadab said she didn't work Sundays or often work at the shop. She added that she made an error and wasn't thinking when the bottle of wine was presented to her by a customer. Shadab Azam admitted that although he was granted the licence, he was not the best man for the job.

Magistrates ordered that both Anisa Shadab and Shadab Azam forfeit their personal licence. The couple sold News and Booze in October 2020, with a new premises licence granted and a new designated premises supervisor appointed.

Anisa Shadab was also fined £45 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £32. Shadab Azam was fined £135 and ordered to pay a victim surcharge of £32. Both parties were ordered to pay a total of £500 towards the costs of prosecuting the case.

Protecting the public 

Owen Cleugh, our public protection manager, said: "In exercising our role as a licensing authority, our primary function is to protect the public. It is important that permissions on all premises licences are complied with as the timings and conditions are aimed at promoting the four licensing objectives.

"Any premises that operates outside of what has been agreed risks undermining these objectives and increasing the risk of increased crime and disorder, public nuisance, public safety and the protection of children from harm.

"We want to work with all businesses in assisting them in complying with the law but we hope that this prosecution serves as a warning that we will take action when licensing laws are not complied with and that criminal convictions will act as a deterrent to others."

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