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    Store loses licence second time in six months  

    Bodrum, on London Road, East Grinstead (Photo: Mid Sussex District Council via LDRS)

    By: Karen Dunn, Local Democracy Reporter

    An East Grinstead convenience store has had its premises licence revoked by Mid Sussex District Council.

    The decision to stop Bodrum, in London Road, from selling alcohol, was taken by the liquor licensing panel on Wednesday (22 May).

    It followed the seizure by Trading Standards of 235 packs of Parliament Blue cigarettes and 104 packs of Marlboro Touch, which were not labelled in English and should only have been sold in Turkey.

    The meeting heard that, during an unannounced visit to the shop by Trading Standards in January, a bin bag containing the cigarettes was taken from behind the counter and moved to the back of the shop, out of view of the officers.

    When asked about the cigarettes, licence holder Ibrahim Kahraman told the panel they were for personal use and he had bought them from a lorry driver at a fruit and vegetable market.

    Store loses licence second time in six months  
    Cigarettes seized from Bodrum, in London Road, East Grinstead. (Photo: West Sussex Trading Standards via LDRS)

    Trading Standards carried out the visit after receiving complaints that vapes and vaping products were being sold to under-18s.

    This was not the first time Bodrum – which used to trade as London Road Food and Wine – had fallen foul of the licensing panel.

    In November 2023, the premises licence was suspended for six weeks after alcohol was sold to a child during a test purchase organised by Trading Standards.

    That suspension has yet to take effect as the decision was appealed and is yet to be decided by magistrates.

    Should the revocation also be appealed within 21 days, it will likely not be heard until the first case is decided.

    Until then, the shop can continue trading as usual.

    The grounds to revoke the licence centred around the prevention of crime and disorder, the promotion of public safety and the protection of children from harm.

    Described by West Sussex Public Health as ‘necessary, proportionate and reasonable in order to prevent further criminal activity by this licence holder and the undermining of public safety’, it was backed by Sussex Police.

    PC Richard Jeffrey questioned why the cigarettes had been ‘hidden’ and said the quantity seized was ‘simply not an amount that can ever be considered for personal use’.

    Pointing out that the cigarettes – worth around £5,000 – had been signed over to Trading Standards without challenge, he added: “This gives Sussex Police the suspicion that this is the involvement of an organised crime group that can simply afford to lose £5,000 worth of product, which will be simply replaced.”

    Despite any action the police may or may not plan to take, the panel could only decide whether the store should keep its premises licence.

    PC Jeffrey questioned whether Mr Kahraman and his team could be trusted to ‘conduct due dilligence’ when it came to the sale of alcohol, given their failure to do so in other areas.

    The panel decided they couldn’t and, after a lengthy discussion, chose to revoke the premises licence.

    (Local Democracy Reporting Service)

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