Shop can keep licence

A corner shop in St Werburghs has kept its alcohol licence despite getting caught selling suspected stolen wine. In January police found 16 bottles of wine on sale from shops such as Tesco, Lidl and M&S.

St Werburghs Food & Wine, on the corner of Mina Road and York Street, was also found to have illegal vapes, although managers denied these were on sale. The shop’s premises licence has now been updated with stringent conditions, and can continue selling alcohol.

Licensing officers told a hearing at Bristol City Council that the shop was not a “problem premises”, and the incident appeared to be a one-off. Councillors were told that the shop had made a mistake, 

Stewart Gibson, a licensing consultant representing the shop, said: “The branded wine that ended up in the store was purchased by a member of the team, who thought it would be acceptable to do so. Once that was brought to their attention, that member of staff no longer works for the business. He was removed from the team. The gentlemen here are apologising that that took place.

“With disposable vapes, there’s a limited amount of knowledge out in the field and the industry about what you can and can’t do. These gentlemen believed what they were told by the wholesaler that they were legal. They purchased them with limited knowledge but in good faith.”

He added that a member of the public informed shop staff that the vapes were illegal, at which point they were taken off display and put into storage. The staff “hoped to return” the vapes to the wholesaler, but this hadn’t occurred before the police inspected the premises.

Louise Mowbray, a police licensing officer, said: “

Accepting suspected stolen wine comes with risks. The provenance of that wine hasn’t been tested, we don’t know what’s been in that wine. We could be potentially putting members of the public at risk.

“In this instance I think this may be a bit of a learning curve, there’s been some changes in place since we’ve been in there.”

By Alex Seabrook, Local Democracy Reporting Service