A TOWN CENTRE shop has been banned from selling alcohol for three months.

The Market Street Off-Licence, formerly known as Bracknell Wines, had been investigated by police after dozens of incidents where street drinkers allegedly bought booze from the store.

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Bracknell News:

Thames Valley Police (TVP) bosses wanted the shop to be banned from selling alcohol permanently as licence holder Preet Lamba had not made changes recommended by police.

At a meeting on Thursday (October 3), Gary Clarke, TVP licensing officer, said: “We believe Mr Lamba has displayed a disregard for the licensing objective.

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“While he is co-operative in agreeing with measures, he has not done what he said he would do and we are still having issues in this area.”

A meeting in March between Mr Lamba and the police saw the shopkeeper agree to make a sign labelled ‘we do not sell alcohol to street drinkers’ more visible, and to add labels displaying the shop’s name to all cans.

Bracknell News:

It emerged Mr Lamba only bought the labels on Monday, September 30, despite being told to add them more than six months ago.

Councillor John Porter said: “I would not say that is being co-operative and proactive.”

Bracknell Forest Council (BFC) licensing bosses also heard how staff did not know how to use the store’s CCTV system when asked to hand over footage to police, a key condition of the shop’s licence.

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According to a Trading Standards representative, the Off Licence had twice been caught selling alcohol to young people without enforcing its ‘Challenge 25’ policy or asking for the buyer’s ID.

Police recorded street drinking incidents in the town centre in the first half of 2019 and listed 37 occasions where they believed drunk customers had bought booze from the Off Licence.

Bracknell News:

This came after police were forced to taser an aggressive man who assaulted officers in early 2018.

Despite this, Mr Lamba and his representative said these incidents were a “grey area” and there was “no surety” from TVP that Bracknell Wines had sold the booze to the street-drinkers.

Mr Lamba’s lawyer added: “It (the store) is quite popular with the community and the staff of the council use the shop on a regular basis.

“The owner has cooperated with the responsible authorities every time.”

Staff at the store are now said to be fully trained in using the CCTV system, which benefits from a new additional camera.

After a lengthy discussion, councillors decided to suspend the store’s licence for three months, meaning shopkeepers will not be able to sell alcohol in this period.

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A new premises supervisor will also be required after Mr Lamba was stripped of the responsibility.