12 shops stripped of right to sell alcohol by Islington Council in the last year

Five per cent of independent off-licences have lost the right to sell alcohol in the last 12 months following three more revocations.

A total of 14 shops had the right to sell alcoholic drinks taken away in the financial year ending this month, mainly because they had been caught stocking illicit booze, although two of them later won appeals against the decision.

A further 12 were given suspensions of three months or more and six had conditions added to their licence following raids that turned up more than 3,500 bottles of wine, 880 litres of spirits, 87kg of tobacco and more than 65,000 cigarettes that were illicit.

If all these goods had been sold, the tax avoided would have reached an estimated total of �37,500.

At council meetings last week, Odesse Food and Wine, in Copenhagen Street, Barnsbury; Arsenal Supermarket, in Blackstock Road, Highbury; and Goldstar Food, in Holland Walk, Archway; had their licences taken away.

At Odesse Food and Wine, officers discovered illicit spirits and counterfeit wine.

At Arsenal Supermarket, they found almost 100 litres of spirits and more than 5,000 cigarettes on which no duty had been paid.

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Goldstar’s licence was revoked for having sold alcohol to an underage person and stocking illicit drink.

Meanwhile, Highbury Wine, in Blackstock Road, Highbury, and Sari Cirek, in Blackstock Road, Finsbury Park, had their licences suspended for four weeks and St Peter’s Food and Wine, in St Peter’s Street, Canonbury, had conditions added for stocking illicit alcohol.

Cllr Barbara Sidnell, Islington Council’s executive member for community safety, said: “It’s not just the fact that illicit alcohol is cheap, which is a problem in itself, it’s what’s in them as well.

“We try to work with shops, but if they go down this road, we will remove their licence, no problems about it.”