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    Bolton shop found selling booze to 13-year-old girls and illicit tobacco to test purchaser

    Royle News, known as Breighmet Off Licence, Bury Road, Bolton (Photo via LDRS)

    A shop owner has had his operating licence revoked after booze was sold to three 13-year-old girls and illegal tobacco and a test purchaser bought illegal tobacco.

    Bolton Council’s licensing committee held a hearing concerning the premises licence of Royle News, known as Breighmet Off Licence, Bury Road.

    The panel heard that tobacco manufacturer Gallaher Ltd had conducted a test purchase at the shop in August 2020 when their officer bought a packet of Richmond cigarettes for £6, which were produced from under the counter.

    A report to the panel stated that they were not for legal sale in the UK with incorrect branding and were possibly counterfeit.

    Other evidence put before the committee included a police statement that three 13-year-old girls had bought alcohol from the shop last November.

    The report said that the girls had bought a bottle of vodka, four bottles of Echo Falls wine and a large bottle of Kopparberg cider before consuming the majority of the booze at nearby Leverhulme Park.

    A complaint was then made to police by the mother of one of the girls.

    A decision to revoke the premises licence has been published by Bolton Council.

    It stated that representations on behalf of shop owner Arshad Mehmood had been made at the hearing.

    It said: “Mr Mehmood had held a premises licence since 2010 and there had been no previous reviews since this time.

    “Over recent years Mr Mehmood had been in poor health and due to his medical conditions he had decided to sell the business.

    “This had proven quite difficult, however, he had now found a purchaser.

    “The cigarette incident in question took place when Mr Mehmood was unwell and he had other people in the shop to help out.

    “It was also stated that the cigarettes in question were for Mr Mehmood’s own personal use and he had left them behind in the shop.

    “With regard to the sale of alcohol to children, Mr Mehmood’s representative advised that his client was not aware of the incident.

    “It was acknowledged that youths did congregate in the area, however, customers were asked for ID and CCTV was in place.”

    The licensing panel concluded: “Having regard to the licensing objectives, the premises licence in relation to Royle News, 842 Bury Road, Bolton, be revoked on the grounds of the prevention of crime and disorder and the protection of children from harm.”

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