Sheffield stores face booze crackdown

Steers Convenience Store, Burngreave Road, Sheffield.
Steers Convenience Store, Burngreave Road, Sheffield.
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Two Sheffield convenience stores could have their licences revoked after one was caught selling alcohol to children and more than 400 bottles of illicit vodka were discovered at the other.

Sheffield Council is to review the licence of Steers Convenience Store On Burngreave Road over concerns for children’s safety and public health, for selling booze to underage drinkers and stocking potentially dangerous vodka.

Steers Beers, London Road, Sheffield.

Steers Beers, London Road, Sheffield.

Sister store Steers Beers On London Road is also having its licence reviewed for stocking illicit alcohol found to contain contaminant chemicals including chloroform.

In November the Burngreave Road store sold a bottle of lager to a 15-year-old police volunteer in an undercover operation, and the following month the shop sold a 16-year-old a bottle of cider.

In December Trading Standards visited the store and seized three bottles of vodka intended for export which had fake ‘duty paid’ labels.

During the same visit, 36 ‘blunts’ – a type of rolled tobacco leaf casing – were found on sale with ‘inadequate’ safety warnings.

The London Road store was also found to be selling contaminated vodka.

An inspectors’ report stated: “One open case of six bottles was seized on suspicion of being counterfeit.

“This was subsequently confirmed by the trademark owner and, after analysis, the spirit was found to contain tertiary-butanol, chloroform and isopropanol. The ABV was 34.4 per cent and the spirit could not be called vodka.”

In June 2012, more than 400 bottles of illicit Danoff vodka were seized from the London Road shop, which resulted in a magistrates’ court conviction for Burngreave Road licence holder Hardip Singh and his wife Paramjit Kaur.

The report on Burngreave Road added: “While the two incidents relating to the possession for sale of illicit alcohol and tobacco at the Burngreave Road shop involved relatively small amounts of offending products, it is clear the licensee has shown a continuing disregard for the law and for the health of customers.

“Counterfeit and illicit spirits are known to contain dangerous industrial chemicals and other contaminants and are made without the quality control measures employed by genuine manufacturers.”

Julie Hague, licensing project manager at Sheffield Council, said of the Burngreave Road store: “The premise has been evidenced to operate in an irresponsible and illegal way that undermines the objective for the protection of children from harm,” she said.

Mr Singh, licence holder at the Burngreave Road store, told The Star he did not want to comment - but said the two members of staff responsible for selling alcohol to children in the police stings have been sacked.

The licence reviews will be heard on June 3.