Ipswich newsagents has licence revoked over sales of super-strength lager

Stop press, Upper Brook Street, Ipswich

Stop press, Upper Brook Street, Ipswich - Credit: Archant

An Ipswich convenience store has had its drinks licence revoked by the borough council — but can carry on serving alcohol for four weeks while its owner decides whether to appeal.

Stop Press in Upper Brook Street had its licence revoked after the borough's licensing and regulatory sub-committee heard that it had sold strong lager to drunk street drinkers, sold alcohol to underage teenagers, and failed to maintain good CCTV records.

There have also been issues with the sale of some legal and illegal highs at the shop over the last few years.

Shop proprietor Ali Reza Zarei said after the hearing that he would be considering an appeal and would be taking legal advice on whether to contest the revocation in court.

During the committee hearing a statement prepared by Suffolk Constabulary's Licensing Officer Sharon Betts-Palmer was read out.

That showed that police officers had been visiting the shop for 10 years because of concern about its sale of strong beer to street-drinkers and Mr Zarei's refusal to sign up to the "Reducing the Strength."

On several occasions officers had seen street-drinkers who had just had cans confiscated, go straight into the store to buy more even though they were clearly drunk.

A statement from Public Health Suffolk said the area that included Stop Press had a much higher proportion of residents that needed hospital treatment or hospital admission for alcohol-related issues than other parts of Ipswich or Suffolk.

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The police had asked for the licence to be revoked — or at least have strict limitations put on it.

Mr Zarei said he had tried to help the police whenever they had visited his premises. He said he had been reluctant to stop the sale of super strength alcohol because he knew there were several other shops in the area who also sold it.

Sub-committee chair Lucy Trenchard said the members of the committee had considered all the evidence and felt that the licence had to be revoked.

Speaking after the hearing, Mr Zarei said: "I am very disappointed. I have been running the shop since 2004 and I work hard to help the police."

He has been told to expect a letter within five working days formally revoking his licence — and he has 21 days from receipt of that letter to decide whether to lodge an appeal. He can continue selling alcohol during that 21-day period.

Mr Zarei said it was his intention to lodge an appeal.

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