Supermarket accused of targeting care home residents with high-strength alcohol

Silver Star Supermarket, New North Road. Photograph: Google.

The Town Hall’s licensing team has alleged that a New North Road supermarket is deliberately stocking high-strength alcohol to target men with complex mental health needs who live in a nearby housing association.

According to the council’s licensing authority, the Silver Star Supermarket and the neighbouring residential facility St Martin of Tours House had both been the source of complaints of antisocial drinking.

The Silver Star now faces being stripped of its licence after being caught selling alcohol to undercover and underage volunteers, with pressure on licensee Bhavesh Patel to prove that the business could be substantially changed to avoid full revocation.

Islington Council licensing officer Terri Lane said: “The initial complaints were around the sale of alcohol, including high strength alcohol, to care home residents, and the resulting challenges this presented.

“[We] visited Patel on 1 June 2018 and asked him if he would consider signing up to the council’s Reduce the Strength scheme. We were initially encouraged that Mr Patel engaged with officers and signed up to the scheme.

“Disappointingly, though, Mr Patel never removed these products from sale and is still currently stocking high strength alcohol in his premises.

“It is the licensing authority’s belief that these products are intentionally stocked in the store to target residents of St Martin of Tours House.”

Both the Silver Star and St Martins have been approached for comment.

According to Islington Labour, over 65 per cent of local off-licences in the borough had supported the Reduce the Strength campaign on its introduction in 2014, with the Silver Star requested not to sell any high strength beer, lager or cider of 6.5 per cent abv or above, other than premium beer, lager of cider priced at £1.95 or above per 500ml.

Cllr Paul Convery (Lab, Caledonian), said at the time: “Cheap super-strength beer and cider fuels a lot of anti-social behaviour and violence that blights communities.

“I’m pleased that so many local off-licences have taken cheap super-strength drink off their shelves and urge others to follow their example, to make Islington’s town centres and parks a better place for everyone.”