New Sheffield off-licence gets go-ahead - as counterfeit alcohol concerns dropped

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A new convenience store in Sheffield city centre is to open - despite initial fears from Trading Standards the shop could be selling counterfeit alcohol.

Sheffield Trading Standards had recommended that a premises licence for the Red House Convenience Store on Solly Street applied for by a company called Albany Build was rejected by councillors at a hearing this Thursday.

But lawyers for Albany Build said the objection has now been dropped, the hearing cancelled and the licence granted.

A spokesman from Sheffield Council confirmed: “In this case we withdrew our representations because the applicant provided more information about the day-to-day running of the premises, and agreed to make changes to the application, that addressed our concerns.”

David Palmer, a senior trading standards officer, had previously said in a report that the application was being objected to due to the planned involvement of company director Peter Clifton, who has been involved with companies that have previous convictions for selling counterfeit spirits.

Mr Palmer said Clifton is listed as the designated premises supervisor for the new store.

He said: "Peter Clifton is well-known to Sheffield Trading Standards due to his involvement in various retail businesses that have been the subject of investigations and various enforcement actions."

The report said that in 2005, Clifton received a caution for possession for supply of counterfeit vodka.

It said that in April 2011, Trading Standards found 14 bottles of counterfeit vodka at the Premier store on West Street, which was run by Albany Retail - a company in which Clifton was a director. Albany Retail was eventually fined £1,000 and made to pay £500 in costs at Sheffield Magistrates' Court after being convicted of food safety offences.

In May 2013, Trading Standards found more illicit alcohol at three shops linked to Clifton - the Premier store at Morton Works, Bargain Beers on West Street and Bargain Beers on Fulwood Road. Counterfeit and non-duty paid vodka was found at the Morton Works store, along with 96 similar bottles at the West Street site. Nine bottles of counterfeit whisky were also uncovered at the Fulwood Road shop.

The report said Clifton pleaded guilty on behalf of Albany Construction (Yorkshire) to two specimen offences under the Trade Marks Act in July 2014, with the company receiving a conditional discharge and being ordered to pay £300 costs.

Mr Palmer said in his report: "Peter Clifton has personally and repeatedly been involved in the possession and supply of counterfeit alcohol as designated premises supervisor and as the director of two companies, trading at three premises, over a period of 11 years.

"Sheffield Trading Standards is concerned that if a licence is granted to another company for which Peter Clifton is the directing mind, in addition to acting as the designated premises supervisor, the licensing objectives will not be met in respect of the prevention of crime and disorder and the protection of children from harm.

"Children are at increased risk of the dangerous nature of the goods and more able to afford goods at cheaper prices.

"Sheffield Trading Standards recommends that no premises licence is granted to Peter Clifton or to any company for which he has a directing mind. We also recommend that he should not be specified as premises supervisor."