Sainsbury's bows to ban

Supermarket drops appeal against licence suspension over under-age sales

Sainsbury's has dropped an appeal against its first alcohol licence suspension in a Local store in Sidcup, Kent.

Bexley Council's licensing sub-committee banned the shop from selling alcohol for six weeks in January, after it failed five of eight test purchase stings by 14, 15 and 16-year-old volunteers. Sainsbury's appealed against the decision and the ban was put on hold.

But days before the appeal was due to be heard in Bexley magistrates' court

the supermarket

dropped its objection

and the ban came into force. Sainsbury's did not say why it had dropped the appeal.

Chief inspector Steve Murrant, of Bexley police, said: "It was apparent from the evidence that children were able to buy alcohol at the store and no retailer, no matter how large, should be exempt from the consequences of such actions. However, in accepting the council's decision, Sainsbury's ha s shown

its willingness to work with the police and council and this can only be a positive step."

Bexley's licensing committee chairman Mike Slaughter added: "I'm pleased Sainsbury's has decided not to appeal the decision. The council is well aware that it has a duty to make proportionate and reasonable decisions. The fact that Sainsbury's has withdrawn its appeal demonstrates that the original decision was fair and balanced."

Bexley Council said the Sidcup shop had worked with its licensing officers, police and Sainsbury's in-house training but still failed to halt under-age sales.

The council also added 12

conditions to Sainsbury's licence when it comes back into force. Among other requirements it will have to record all alcohol sales on CCTV, is banned from selling beer or cider over 5.5% , and has to move all its alcohol behind the counter.