A Hastings shop found with counterfeit wine in its stockroom has avoided losing its licence after a hearing last week.
On Thursday (February 25), a Hastings Borough Council licensing panel met to consider an application to revoke the alcohol sales licence of Four Seasons Supermarket, a convenience store in Bohemia Road.
The panel heard how East Sussex Trading Standards officers had visited the store in June and found several bottles of Blossom Hill White Zinfandel in its stockroom, some of which were later confirmed as counterfeit.
The business did not contest this finding, but argued for a more lenient measure than total revocation of its licence, as the counterfeit product was not found to be dangerous and had been taken off sale prior to the inspection.
This could include a licence suspension and the appointment of a new Designated Premises Supervisor (DPS), representatives of the business said.
After hearing evidence from both the business and Trading Standards, the committee retired to consider its decision in private.
In a printed decision published on Tuesday (March 2), a spokesman for the panel said: “The committee have listened to the evidence before it very carefully.
“It considers the matter to be a very serious one in line with the Section 182 guidance issued by the secretary of state. However, it believes that revocation of the licence would be disproportionate in the circumstances.
“The committee has no confidence in the current management of the premises therefore it believes that removal of the DPS is a necessary and proportionate response.”
The panel also decided to impose a three-month licence suspension and called on the business to ensure it had good traceability procedures in place to ensure it could show where its products came on demand.
A spokesman for the panel said: “It hopes that the period of suspension is used to enable the licence holder to put in place rigorous procedures to enable traceability of goods in line with legislative requirements (on demand).
“It is hoped that the licence holder will take professional advice. The committee is pleased however that the licence holder is now engaging with council’s licensing services and trading standards.”