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    Gravesend Premier store stripped of alcohol licence

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    A Premier store in Kent has been stripped of its licence to sell alcohol after repeatedly selling booze to local street drinkers on credit and keeping a “pledges book”.

    According the local reports, the management team behind Kings News and Wine in Gravesend admitted there was “no excuse for what had happened” after also being caught with illegal vapes for sale, and having an illegal employee.

    Kent Police’s licensing team originally lodged a request for the revocation of the trader’s licence into Gravesham council in May this year after a string of licence violations and rocky interactions with officers.

    At a meeting of the council’s licensing panel on June 13, PC Dan Hunt of Kent Police told attendees, “Alcohol related antisocial behaviour, crime and disorder and street drinking have been evident within the town centre at Gravesend for some time”.

    He stressed that “we have tried to work with the premises for some time and we’ve tried to work with Mr Pirakas when possible”.

    Rajaratnam Pirakas was the designated premises supervisor (DPS), but not the owner of the business. The owner is his cousin, Perinpam Seralathan.

    In the first incident that happened in April 2023, the newsagent allegedly served a “very drunk” street drinker when they “should have been refused”.

    Officers later requested CCTV – which under their licence should be retained for 31 days – but staff could not show more than four days worth of recordings or operate the system, which amounted to a “breach of the licence”.

    The shop was not allowed to serve alcohol before 8am under its licence.

    The shop is also accused of selling alcohol before 8:00 am. A member of staff then told Hunt that “he did not believe the customer to be a street drinker” but a “regular customer” and “of good character.”

    “The premises were seemingly offering alcohol on credit to persons that are street drinking and the fact that this person seemingly always had alcohol would suggest that maybe he was alcohol dependent,” reports quoted Hunt as saying.

    , Cllr Baljit Hayre (Lab), chair of the panel, told the attendees, “On this occasion it is unanimously the view that the licensing panel has determined this premises licence is to be revoked, and no condition can be imposed to ensure that the licensing objectives can be upheld.”

    The shop now cannot legally sell alcohol, but does not necessarily have to close.

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