8 January 2016

Sheffield City Council have shown further commitment to the crack down on illicit alcohol sales, after revoking the licence from the owner of two shops, who was caught selling illegal alcohol despite a previous offence.

This was the outcome of the Licensing Sub-Committee hearing held on Monday 4 January, which saw Rhythm and Booze on Abbeydale Road and also on Brooklands Avenue, Fulwood permanently lose their licences after the seizure of illegal alcohol following inspections by the Trading Standards team.

The illicit alcohol was discovered on sale just six weeks after the licensee, Mr Jigar Patel, had been convicted of similar offences at Sheffield Magistrates Court in July 2015.

The grounds for reviewing these licences came under Prevention of Crime and Disorder, Public safety and Protection of Children from Harm. Representation was also made by the Sheffield Safeguarding Children Board over concerns about the serious lack of systems in place to control under age sales at both premises.

Councillor Mazher Iqbal, Cabinet Member for Public Health and equality said: “We will not tolerate the sale of illicit alcohol products. In this case the alcohol was genuine but had been bought illegally. That means Mr Patel could not have known whether the contents were genuine or counterfeit and this poses serious health risks to the communities these shops serve, hence the need to review the licences.

“Counterfeit alcohol can cause severe illness, vomiting, nausea, blindness and death. It is not produced to industry standards, so consumers have no idea of the strength of the alcohol they are consuming.

“This is not the first time Mr Patel has been found selling illegal products, so we have taken the necessary steps to prevent him from doing this again. Not only was he taking risks with his customers’ health, he was breaching Trade Marks and Food Safety controls in addition to the avoidance of Excise duty.”

Illicit, or illegal alcohol, is either alcohol that is produced in unlicensed distilleries or people’s homes using replica bottles labelled as a genuine product or is genuine branded alcohol that has avoided paying UK taxes and duty either by being stolen and bought in bulk or buying illegally from a warehouse where the products are intended solely for export.

Sheffield City Council’s crackdown on illegal alcohol has been ongoing since 2011 and this case is yet another example of the great work – which saw them nominated for a national award in June last year – that Trading Standards and the licencing committee are doing.

Advice leaflets on how to spot illicit alcohol are available here:
http://sheffielddact.org.uk/drugs-alcohol/priorities-and-campaigns/illicit-alcohol-sales-campaign/