Supermarket under fire on alcohol sales

SUPERMARKET giant Tesco has been criticised by a Sheffield resident who claims his nearby store "lets kids buy whatever they want".

The allegation was made in a protest letter against an application to extend the hours the company can sell alcohol at its branch in Berkeley Precinct, off Ecclesall Road.

Mick Brogan, of nearby Wadbrough Road, wrote: "I have known for over a year now how easy it is for local 15 and 16 year-olds to buy alcohol from this store - not only is there little monitoring of the self-service check-out desk to see if kids are buying alcohol but also members of staff seem completely ignorant of their responsibilities towards selling the stuff - or else turn a blind eye or can't be bothered.

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"The kids I've spoken to think Tesco is great because they never get asked their age and can buy whatever they want.

"In one incident earlier this year, a 15-year-old couldn't carry all the alcohol they had bought, so a member of staff kept it to one side until they brought another 15-year-old friend along to help take it away!"

Mr Brogan added that extended hours would also make it easier for students to replenish their supplies of booze late at night so they can carry on partying.

"There is already plenty of opportunity during the day and evening to buy alcohol, so the night-time extension is realistically only for people who have already consumed alcohol and, probably on impulse, want more for immediate consumption.

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"The likelihood is that this will result in more late-night parties, more anti-social behaviour and more rubbish and vomit," he said.

Another Wadbrough Road resident, who did not give their name, added: "I have great concern about the problems being caused by the increase in bars and restaurants along Ecclesall Road and their continual applications for extensions of opening hours.

"The application by Tesco will result in issues of round-the-clock drinking, rubbish and safety issues for the residents and children of the area, not to mention excessive noise and rowdiness."

Their letters were incl-uded in a report to Sheffield Council's licensing board, covering Tesco's bid to sell booze until 11pm from Monday to Saturday and for 24 hours in the week before Christmas.

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In its application, Tesco stated: "We take legal compliance very seriously. We have written training policies and formal training programmes in place, which ensure our people are equipped to meet all licensing objectives.

"All the measures we have in place during licensed hours would continue to be in place during additional hours that alcohol would be sold in the store."

Meanwhile, an application by the Vue Cinema at Meadowhall to operate a bar until 2.30am daily could be blocked because of concerns about public safety.

Sheffield Council's environmental health department believes the size of the proposed bar is "unacceptable" and is unhappy no details about how the area would be managed, nor information on stewarding, have been outlined.

Both applications will be considered at a meeting of the licensing board today.

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