Last orders for alcohol sale at grocery store

A GROCERY store where trading standards officers discovered hundreds of bottles of counterfeit wine some with floating bits inside, has lost its licence to sell alcohol.

The owner of Ideal Mini Mart, Abu Mahmud, was present at the hearing at Hastings Borough Council’s licensing sub committee on Wednesday.

After hearing the evidence presented by licensing manager Bob Brown, members decided to revoke the licence of the Queen’s Road premises.

Mahmud has 21 days to lodge an appeal against the decision.

Earlier this year Sevens Mini Market, Pleasant Off Licence and Ararat Supermarket had their licences revoked after trading standards found counterfeit or dangerous alcohol on their premises.

During Wednesday’s hearing the committee was told that an investigation was carried out on the premises.

Officers seized 30 bottles of Blossom Hill wine and two bottles of Jacob’s Creek.

The brand holders confirmed the bottles were counterfeit.

They also seized 408 bottles of Italian wine priced at two for £5 in the shop.

On inspection some appeared to have inadequate names and addresses, some had poor spelling, some appeared to have the wrong lot codes while other contained floating particles.

Scientific analysis showed that several of the wine bottles contained less alcohol than statesd on its labelling.

Lead member for environment, councillor Phil Scott, said: “Counterfeit alcohol is not only illegal but can also be devastating to people’s health.

“It can often contain lethal chemicals that have been known to cause nausea, blindness and even death.”

He added: “We are determined to use every means at our disposal to protect Hastings’ residents from unregulated, unsafe products.

“I would like to take this opportunity to thank our Licensing Team and Licensing Committee for their continued hard work and dedication.

“I hope this sends a clear message out to anyone else involved in these unscrupulous practices.”