In Brief

Car takes a flyer

The Flying Corkscrew, the independent wine merchant based in Water End, Herts, had a narrow escape last weekend

when a driver crashed at 80mph and collided with vehicles parked on a neighbouring forecourt.The debris meant that customer numbers were down on Sunday, despite the store being open for business as normal. The driver, whose vehicle smashed through the shop's fence, only suffered minor injuries

Swords used in robbery

A gang of children armed with swords locked a lone female assistant in the store room of a Cambridge branch of Threshers while they stole cash, beer and tobacco. The raiders, aged around 16 and 17, struck last Saturday just before 11pm, threatened the woman and removed the telephone before making their escape.

Plastic-free shopping zone

The West Sussex village of Henfield is the latest community to go plastic bag-free. More than 40 retailers, including wine merchant World of Wines and a branch of Budgens, have agreed to stop giving out plastic carrier bags to customers from May 3. Free reusable cotton bags will be issued to be used in place of plastic ones.

Suspension for store

Burney drinks retailer the Gourmet & Goblet has been given a four-week licence suspension after repeated test purchase failures. The shop has been asked to improve staff training, install CCTV, introduce a Challenge 21 policy and make changes to the refusals book system. After 5pm, all sales must now be authorised by personal licence holders.

Burglars' £6,500 haul

Burglars who broke into a Threshers in Southend were able to open two safes with keys they found on the premises. The raiders escaped with cash and cigarettes worth £6,500 and also caused £200 damage when they forced open a cabinet.

Youth crime scuppers licence

A store in Chingford has been refused the right to sell alcohol 24 hours a day over fears about youth crime in the area. Costcutter in Hatch Lane failed in its bid after the licensing committee was told by PC Peter Westall: "I know most of the bad lads in the area and the majority of youths that cause trouble in Hatch Lane are aged between 13 and 17. If the application is approved they will be able to get their hands on alcohol more easily."

Big four join for initiative

Asda, Sainsbury's, Tesco and Waitrose have joined forces to explain the perils of binge drinking in a local initiative in Bournemouth. The stores will issue leaflets encouraging shoppers to "get the balance right" and not drink excessively at home before going out. The move came in response to claims at a recent conference in the area that thousands of people in Bournemouth and Poole drank excessively, leading to an increase in alcohol-related liver disease.