A parent distraught after his child was hospitalised after drinking alcohol sold to him underage has welcomed a Sheffield off licence being stripped of its licence.

The HK Off Licence and Mini Market in Crookes had its licence revoked by Sheffield City Council’s licencing board today (Tuesday, January 26) after it was revealed they had sold a bottle of vodka to a 15-year-old boy who then drank it with his 16-year-old friend.

The 16-year-old was later taken to hospital after downing the alcohol in a local park with his friend and becoming dangerously ill as a result.

Now a parent of the 16-year-old has welcomed the decision to take away the licence, warning other parents to watch out for this premise which may be putting children’s lives at risk.

The boy’s father, who does not want his son identified in order to protect him, said: “It was extremely distressing and worrying witnessing the effect the alcohol had on our son and I hope no other parent has to go through the same ordeal.

“If it hadn’t been for the kindness of strangers who brought our boy home when they found him drunk in the park I shudder to think what may have happened next. He had cuts and bruises all over him, he was in a terrible state.

“He was dangerously drunk and it was obvious he needed hospital treatment and fast. I have never been so scared in my life as I watched a team of doctors and nurses cutting off my son’s clothes and putting him on oxygen to revive him.

“He was out with his mate and for a dare they decided to buy the alcohol. They were asked for identification but when they said they didn’t have any they just said ‘well don’t forget it next time’ and then sold them a bottle of vodka at 40 per cent alcohol! I simply can’t believe it. People should not be allowed to get away with this sort of behaviour which is why I am glad they have had their licence stripped from them. I hope they are never able to trade again.”

The same shop was also involved in a further incident where alcohol was sold to underage boys last November (2015). One 15-year-old became unconscious after buying £50 of alcohol from the off-licence then consuming it with his friends when they went to a 16th birthday party. It also emerged during the hearing that the mini market had been selling legal highs to youngsters as well.

Sheffield City Council’s Safeguarding Children’s Board made various submissions to the hearing, including stating the shop owner – Srinivas Vangol – had failed to address concerns and did not attend the training offered free of charge by the Safeguarding Children Board, despite several referrals.

Councillor Jackie Drayton, Sheffield City Council’s Cabinet Member for Children Young People and Families said: “I am appalled that this shop owner could behave so irresponsibly and flout the licensing laws. As a member of the business community he has a part to play in making sure all children and young people are protected – the contempt and disregard this man showed to safeguarding children is shocking. This was a dreadful situation for the young people and their parents – children cannot absorb alcohol in the same way an adult can. I’m just glad this did not end in a terrible tragedy, as it could have done. This was not a one off incident so I ‘m please that the Licencing Board have taken away this licence.”


Photo: copyright Sheffield Star newspaper