‘Hazardous’ goods allegedly sold at Worthing cash-and-carry

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POTENTIALLY “hazardous” vodka and suspected counterfeit wine were being sold by a Teville Road cash-and-carry store, it was alleged at a Worthing licensing committee hearing.

The products, delivered to the Quality Food Cash and Carry in an “unmarked white van”, were cited as among reasons why the premises’ licence should be revoked or suspended, when the committee met at Worthing Town Hall yesterday evening.

West Sussex County Council trading standards, applying for a licence review, said the alcohol could be dangerous, and also claimed the store was selling jars of “honey and syrup”, and “honey and nuts”, neither of which contained honey.

Another visit revealed the sale of “2 Apple Emirates” chewing tobacco which did not have the required health warnings on its packaging.

The licensing councillors heard that during a series of visits last year, trading standards officers found 23 bottles of Norvik Vodka for sale.

The bottles did not bear the regulatory information labels, and the contents’ alcohol strength was later analysed as 38 per cent – 0.5 per cent over the 37.5 per cent quoted on the label.

On another visit, 30 bottles of Jacob’s Creek wine were seized on suspicion of being counterfeit after it was spotted that the name Australia was spelt incorrectly on the reverse of the bottle.

Also, it was claimed another misleading offence was that the wine was advertised around the premises as costing £5.49 a bottle, but was actually being sold at £1 more than this.

The trading standards report said: “The sale of illegal alcohol not only breaches the licensing objective, ‘the prevention of crime and disorder’, but the products being sold could potentially be unfit for human consumption, or even hazardous.”

Sussex Police said it considered the trading standards recommendation to consider revocation of the premises licence was “both proportionate and reasonable”.-

The police submitted that on two late-night police visits last year, officers found no authorised security person on duty at the front of the premises. This was admitted by the designated premises supervisor.

Breaches of fire safety regulations were cited in a submission by West Sussex Fire and Rescue. It was stated that many provisions of an enforcement notice of February 2, 2011, had not been complied with by January 9 of this year. They included the absence of an efficient fire door between the storeroom and sleeping accommodation; obstructed fire exit; no staff training had been undertaken; and any extinguishers provided were last tested in 2004 and 2008.

The committee heard that the previous premises licence, held by a shop known as the International Food Centre, was revoked at a hearing in September, 2009, following an application by Sussex Police.

The police had contended that licensing objectives, including “protection of children from harm”, had been seriously undermined by the then licence holder.