Newsagent faces licence suspension over second illicit alcohol offence

AJ News on Whitecross Street. Photograph: Google.

An Islington newsagent is facing a potential suspension of its licence following the discovery of 52 litres of alcohol that “appeared to be not intended for the UK market”.

AJ News on Whitecross Street serves alcohol between 8am and 10pm, Monday to Sunday.

The shop was raided by Islington trading standards officers on 7 June, who discovered a number of cans without English labelling, including Zubr, Okocim and Perla Green.

A second raid on 15 June was conducted, and it was discovered that the same products were still being displayed.

A total of 104 cans were seized from the shop over the two visits.

A licensing service report stated: “The detriment caused by illegal alcohol cannot be overstated.

“It can be bought very cheaply because duty is evaded and means that shops can undercut their rivals unfairly, which might also encourage vulnerable street drinkers to drink more than they might otherwise.”

The report goes on to allege that, whilst AJ News claims to have purchased the alcohol from legitimate wholesalers, officers believed the booze to have been bought with the shop “knowing full well that it was illegal”, though these claims have not been substantiated in the report.

Reference is also made to a previous visit from officers in which an employee of the newsagent ran away from police during an inspection.

The report reads: “On 15 June a licensing officer accompanied trading standards officers to carry out an inspection following a recent unsatisfactory visit by trading standards and the police.

“Officers discussed the previous unsatisfactory visit where the member of staff ran off – the licensee said that member of staff needed training.”

A decision is expected on the status of AJ News’ licence on 27 September.