Agenda item



Applicant’s case:

The Applicant explained a key priority for his service was to protect children from harm.  In order to prevent underage sales, test purchasing was used.  He summarised the chronology of events, which was detailed in the application for the review. He showed the meeting the can of alcohol which had been purchased on 7 April 2022. 

Questions to the Applicant:

There were none.

Licence Holder’s case

Ms Bird spoke for the Licence Holder, who accepted responsibility and that the events had taken place. It was serious, but the circumstances would be explained and the steps taken since would be set out.  The premises was one of five stores operated by the Licence Holder. There were no issues in relation to the other stores, which were outside the borough, and there was deep upset and concern at what had happened. 


In the October 2021 Challenge 25 case, the staff member had suffered a bereavement shortly before, so she had not been functioning normally. This was no excuse, however.  In the April 2022 underage sale, the member of staff was new and did not know the product was alcohol.  She had only been working a few hours, was provided with further training, but now no longer worked at the store.


Steps had been taken to ensure there would not be a recurrence. It had not been possible to train the employee from October 2021 immediately afterwards because she went abroad.  She had since received refresher training after returning to the UK.  The Licence Holder referred to the certificate and signage included in appendix 3. The till system prompted for an age check, which prevented the future misinterpretation of products. It was installed in May 2022 and there had been no problems since.  All staff had received further training. The employee from October 2021 had received enhanced training, as she wanted a personal licence. The Licence Holder supported all staff who desired enhanced training.  The refusal register was checked by directors weekly, if not twice weekly. The Licence Holder wanted to be a positive influence in the community and to keep children safe.

Questions to the Licence Holder

The Licensing Officer asked how many members of staff there were. The Licence Holder said six and one of them had a personal licence.  The Licence Holder acknowledged condition 14 and apologised if this had been breached.  It was a matter for committee whether to add any new conditions, but they would be complied with. The committee could require a personal licence holder to be present at all times and further training. The Licence Holder had already taken steps without prompting.


The Chairman pointed out that the certificates in appendix 3 post-dated the underage sale and asked if there had been training previously.  The Licence Holder said there had been, but was not able to say what particular course. 

Final comments

The Applicant reiterated that a stepped approach had been taken and the review was an opportunity to protect children.


Following an adjournment, members returned and the Chairman announced the licence would be suspended for one month and a condition added that a personal licence holder must be present at all times. 


There was no doubt an underage sale had taken place and this was a serous contravention. The premises had improved training and systems afterwards.


The following are the reasons for the decision.


The Licensing Sub-Committee carefully considered the application for a  review of the premises licence at Devrim Management Limited t/a Embas Local, 5 Station Approach, Lower Sydenham London SE26 5FD.  In doing so, they had regard in particular to:

-  The four licensing objectives

-  The Council’s current Statement of Licensing Policy

-  The Council’s Guidance for Members hearing a Review of a Premises Licence

-  The Secretary of State’s Revised Guidance issued under section 182 of the Licensing Act 2003

-  The application and all oral representations by the Applicant

-  All written and oral representations by the Licence Holder

Members noted that the basis for the application was that the licensing objective of protecting children from harm was not being met. 

There had been one underage sale and poor training played some role.  Given the earlier Challenge 25 failure, there was doubt over the robustness of that policy.  The Licence Holder operates several licensed premises and therefore Members expected staff selection and training to have been more effective at preventing the underage sale.  Members agreed though that it was incomprehensible for the employee not to have known the product was alcohol.  It was therefore more likely that the cause was a one-off failure. 

Given the existing licence conditions, Members were not of the view that an additional training condition would be suitable in the circumstances. Children were at risk of harm, so steps should  be taken.

Accordingly, it was decided that a licence suspension of one month and an additional condition for a personal licence holder to be present at all times were appropriate steps for promoting the licensing objectives.



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