Appeal lodged after 'irresponsible' corner shop stripped of licence for 'illegal' trading

A.J's Convenience Store, which is opposite Ayresome Primary School in Middlesbrough
A.J's Convenience Store, which is opposite Ayresome Primary School in Middlesbrough -Credit:Naomi Corrigan

Bosses at a Middlesbrough corner shop blamed for alcohol-related disorder in the area are appealing a decision to cancel the store's premises licence.

Cleveland Police requested a review of the licence to sell alcohol at A.J's Convenience Store amid claims of "non compliance with conditions". Officers said the area around the store on Crescent Road in Gresham suffers "high levels" of alcohol-related crime, with operations at the shop reportedly "adding to the problems".

Following a meeting in February, a licensing sub committee meeting of Middlesbrough Council revoked the licence and an appeal has now been lodged against the decision. The application at Teesside Magistrates' Court was adjourned on Tuesday and a trial date was set for October 3.

At the licensing meeting, the premises licence holder Savior Selvaras Tharmeswaran accepted the books had not been completed at the store but blamed family pressures. A decision should focus on steps to resolve the problem, he said, rather than stripping the licence which would force the shop to close.

However the committee was also told how, up to the date of the review, the premises was operating "illegally as a result of non-compliance with the licensing conditions". It was claimed the shop was an "irresponsible retailer", selling high strength single cans of beer, cider and lager and high strength bottes of cider - the main source of crime and disorder, said police.

A public health representative described seeing "two very drunken females", who were shouting, swearing and arguing while leaving the premises after one of them "showed her backside" to staff after being refused more alcohol. Tim Hodgkinson, public protection manager on behalf of Middlesbrough Council, said the local authority also had “serious concerns" surrounding the operation of the shop and the sale of "cheap, high strength alcohol to vulnerable adults".

The committee said its decision was "appropriate" to promote public safety and the prevention of crime and disorder, the prevention of public nuisance and the protection of children from harm. The Local Democracy Reporting Service has approached the store for comment.

For breaking news in your area direct to your inbox every day, go here to sign up to our free newsletter