Store faces losing dial-a-drink licence

POLICE will urge council chiefs to revoke a store's licence that saw it deliver alcohol to the doorstep of an underage customer in a sting operation.

Durham Police have applied to Durham County Council to revoke a licence for a dial-a-drink service being run by Alam Stores, based at Yarm Villas, in Thornley.

It comes after two police stings, held in conjunction with the council's trading standards team, caught staff from the store selling booze to volunteers aged under 18.

Licensing chiefs will hear during a committee meeting tomorrow how staff have been caught out selling drink to underage teenagers, both from the store and as part of the home delivery service.

Durham Police's licensing officer, Sergeant Tim Robson, said police arranged a test purchase operation involving a volunteer aged under 18 based at a house which police took over.

Sgt Robson said: "Staff came out and sold alcohol on two occasions.

"The first was during an operation led by trading standards. They sold the child a bottle of vodka, some cigarettes and some lager on the

Friday and during our operation on the Saturday, they sold the child four cans of Budweiser and two bottles of wine.

"They didn't ask for identification to be checked, which they should have done."

As a result of the undercover operations, police are asking for the store's dial-a-drink licence to be revoked.

Sgt Robson, who hailed the operation as a good example of partnership-working with trading standards, added: "We only specifically target a premises when we have real issue with them.

"It is difficult to monitor dial-a-drink services.

"Anything that goes wrong will happen on a doorstep, away from prying eyes.

"It's not a situation where you can monitor them and test them or look at outside CCTV.

"When you look at dial-a-drink, it's a different kettle of fish.

"You have to identify a house of issue, where a child would be waiting for drink to be delivered to it.

"It's clear from this that anyone could order a drink and have it delivered in the early hours and not be checked for identification."

No-one was available at the store to comment.